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Littmann stethoscopes are compact yet ideal instruments for effective monitoring and physical assessment of children and adults. These medical devices are made of strong yet lightweight materials, allowing you to pick up subtle heart, lung and other body sounds comfortably and clearly.
Its soft ear tips adapt to each ear for an excellent acoustic fit. Tunable technology lets you hear high and low frequency sounds without repositioning your pinna. The tube is durable for long product life. It is made of a new generation, elastic, latex-free material that allows it to retain its shape and flexibility.
Littmann stethoscopes owe their name to innovations made by Dr. Littmann. In the early 1960s, Dr. Littmann, a physician at Harvard Medical School, perfected the design of stethoscopes from a rudimentary accessory to an advanced diagnostic tool. What brought Littmann stethoscopes to their current state of evolution is not their history. It is their reputation and reliability. Although in recent years other brands have succeeded in gaining a foothold in the market, Littmann stethoscopes still hold a prominent position and remain the preferred choice of most physicians and specialists. Even today, we receive many questions about the different Littmann stethoscopes - which one is the best? A Littmann Classic stethoscope (like the Master Classic II and Classic III models), a Littmann Cardiology stethoscope (like the Cardiology IV models) or a Littmann Lightweight stethoscope? Which Littmann stethoscope model will be best for my practice? We will answer these questions.
We know they are the preferred choice for most physicians, but... What are the keys to the undeniable success of Littmann stethoscopes?
For one, we must consider the unparalleled quality standards with which the stethoscopes are manufactured. While competitors manufacture their products in Asian countries, all Littmann stethoscopes are made in the USA. Some of the best models (including the Cardiology IV models) offer warranties of up to 7 years. These are tools that are built to last. As a result, it is not uncommon for a 3M Littmann stethoscope to be used for 15 to 20 years.
On the other hand, they are innovative. Littmann created the dual frequency diaphragm technology, which allows alternating between high and low frequency auscultations by varying the amount of pressure applied to the patient. In addition, Littmann stethoscopes lead the market in modern electronic stethoscopes. They have virtually no competition.
That said, we must stress the importance of Littmann's dual frequency diaphragms. You may never have had a Littmann stethoscope before, or you may have used other brands and may not be familiar with this distinctive and characteristic feature.
In other brands or stethoscopes manufactured before the Littmann stethoscopes, we find bells with two diaphragms: a smaller diameter diaphragm, called a bell, and a larger diameter diaphragm, called a diaphragm. In this type of stethoscope, each of these membranes (bell and diaphragm) has a different function: the bell allows to auscultate the low frequencies and the diaphragm allows to auscultate the high frequencies.
For years, Littmann stethoscopes have had a dual-frequency diaphragm on each side of the chestpiece. This means that it is possible to listen to high and low frequencies with both sides of the chestpiece.
It is very simple:
Thanks to this innovation, the side with the smaller diameter of the Littmann stethoscopes can be used for pediatric, carotid or pulse auscultations, among others. Please note that all Littmann stethoscopes have dual-frequency membranes, except for the infant and pediatric models.
Try it before you order a stethoscope; hear, see and feel the difference for yourself. When purchasing a stethoscope, there is no substitute for trying out different stethoscopes. Ask your colleagues if you can test their stethoscopes. (Of course, clean the tips before and after use.) Look at the features. See if the stethoscopes are easy or difficult to adjust. Chances are, a 3M Littmann stethoscope offers everything you're looking for and more.
The ultimate test: What can you hear? Get a Littmann stethoscope. Place the tunable diaphragm on your chest and apply gentle pressure. Can you hear your heartbeat? Notice how loud the sound is. How much louder? More than four times as loud. An internal 3M test showed that heart and lung sounds heard through the adult diaphragm of a Littmann stethoscope were more than four times louder (20 dB) than the same sounds heard through another brand of stethoscope. It's like the difference between whispering and talking. Then listen for yourself. Listen to others. Read online reviews. Ask people who use Littmann stethoscopes. You'll hear many stories praising the qualities of Littmann stethoscopes because they allow you to hear sounds with rare clarity.
Try this: hold any stethoscope by its tip; let it hang vertically. Do you see any distinct folds or bends that may make the stethoscope difficult to use? This indicates that the tubing is stiff and can pull on the ear tips. The Littmann stethoscope tubing hangs straight; it bends easily when you examine a patient. When holding the stethoscope, note how the ear tubes cross each other. Littmann stethoscope ear tubes are symmetrical for ideal comfort.
Run your fingers over the Littmann stethoscope ear tips. They are smooth to fit comfortably inside your ears without irritation. Now try removing one from the sound tube. The ear tips tighten for maximum acoustic performance and safety. Finally, feel the weight. Littmann stethoscopes are designed to be lightweight and comfortable when worn around the neck or in a pocket.
From the bell to the ear tips, here's what sets Littmann stethoscopes apart:
Littmann stethoscopes are known for their premium sound quality and comfort. There are simple things you can do to ensure the long-term performance and use of your new stethoscope.
Before placing the earpieces in your ears, make sure they are facing forward, away from you. This ensures that the ear tubes will line up with your ear canals for maximum comfort and sound transmission. Holding the headset in front of you, with an ear tube in each hand, pull the headset open and place the ear tips in your ears. If the fit is uncomfortable, or if the acoustic performance is insufficient, adjust the tubing tension. Gently squeeze the ear tubes to increase the tension of the tubing; separate them to decrease the tension.
Wearing the stethoscope incorrectly, with the tips pointing backward, for example, can result in poor acoustics and, in some cases, complete blockage of sound.
For optimal acoustic performance, it is important to use the earmold size that best fits your ear. This is especially true when using soft seal earmolds. All Littmann stethoscope earmolds are available in small and large sizes.
When using a Littmann double bell stethoscope, you must open (or index) the side you want to use - bell or diaphragm - by rotating the bell. If the diaphragm is open, the bell will be closed, preventing sound from entering through the bell and vice versa.
If you usually carry your stethoscope in a pocket, or if you don't clean it often, lint or dirt can build up and obstruct the sound path. To prevent dirt build-up, perform routine cleaning and maintenance of your stethoscope.
Stethoscopes depend on an airtight seal to transmit the patient's body sounds to the practitioner's ears. Loose parts, damaged tubing, or improperly placed earpieces can prevent proper acoustics.
Tunable diaphragm technology is a 3M invention that helps make auscultating a patient easier and more efficient. It allows you to hear different types of sounds by simply adjusting the amount of pressure you apply to the chestpiece of your 3M Littmann stethoscope.
Almost all Littmann stethoscopes have at least one tunable diaphragm. (The exceptions are the electronic, pediatric and infant models) Their tunable technology virtually eliminates the need to remove, flip and reposition the chestpiece just to hear different sounds. While other stethoscope brands require unscrewing and changing diaphragms and bells, Littmann stethoscopes are synonymous with ease and simplicity. To hear low frequency sounds, place the chestpiece lightly on the patient. In this position, the diaphragm is suspended, allowing it to resonate low frequency sounds. To hear high frequency sounds, apply firm contact pressure to the chestpiece. By pressing on the chestpiece, the movement of the diaphragm is restricted. This blocks (or attenuates) low frequency sounds and allows you to hear high frequency sounds. This is a good tip for medical students.
As a physician, do you know what will have the most impact on your patients' perception of you? Do you know what tool will influence your patients to see you as a trustworthy and respectable physician? Exactly. The stethoscope.
That's according to a 2012 study, in which it was found that if you wear a stethoscope hanging around your neck, your adult patients will perceive you as a better, more trustworthy doctor. The stethoscope is such a hallmark tool of the profession that even my four-year-old daughter can recognize it. The stethoscope, in addition to being the most stereotypical diagnostic tool and being used by physicians around the world, is also one of the oldest tools.
More than two centuries ago, a French doctor created the first stethoscope, which was made from paper and wood. It was a long tube that served as a rudimentary listening tool. Over the next few years, various physicians worked to perfect the invention. However, one of the most important contributions was made by Dr. Littmann of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Littmann was an internationally recognized figure in the field of cardiography. He was able to evolve this invention into something far superior: an advanced diagnostic tool.
Although today's stethoscopes essentially retain the same basics as those developed by Dr. Littmann, these instruments have evolved into something much more sophisticated and accurate. Today's models feature innovations such as dual-frequency diaphragms, Bluetooth, digital noise reduction technology, amplification systems, etc.
Don't worry if you've never heard of these features! The goal of this guide is to help you learn more about stethoscopes in a few minutes. This guide will also help you find the perfect stethoscope for your specialty.
The principle of operation of a conventional stethoscope (also called an acoustic stethoscope) is based on the reflection of sound waves in the stethoscope tube. At one end of the stethoscope is the chestpiece, which contains one or more membranes inside, whose function is to pick up sound from the patient's chest and transmit it through the tube.
The binaural piece is located at the other end of the stethoscope. Its function is to transfer the sound and send it to our ears in optimal conditions. At the ends of the binaural piece are the ear tips or olives, whose function is to seal the conduits of the binaural piece to our ears and prevent the loss of sound.
The chestpieces of traditional stethoscopes usually have two sides of different diameters: the smaller diameter bell and the larger diameter diaphragm. In these types of stethoscopes, the bell is used to pick up low frequencies and the diaphragm is used to pick up high frequencies.
However, Littmann stethoscopes work a little differently: they have dual-frequency diaphragms. As healthcare professionals, you need to recognize this difference, as it could affect your diagnosis if you use a Littmann stethoscope instead of another brand, or vice versa. Littmann stethoscopes can pick up both low and high frequencies on both sides of the chestpiece, as they are equipped with dual-frequency diaphragms. Specifically, there is no need to alternate between the bell and diaphragm to pick up low and high frequencies.
To alternate between low and high frequencies with a Littmann stethoscope, you only need to apply more or less pressure on the patient's skin, either with the bell (the part with the smallest diameter) or with the diaphragm (the part with the largest diameter) :
So why does the Littmann stethoscope continue to have a double-sided chestpiece, when each side is capable of making a bell or diaphragm, depending on the pressure applied?
In this case, the small size of the chestpiece of a Littmann stethoscope was designed to be used in pediatric and neonatal situations, or to listen to carotid or pulse auscultations, among other applications. The larger diameter chestpiece side was designed for routine adult auscultations.
One disadvantage of acoustic grade stethoscopes is that the volume of sound picked up is low. In addition, if a record of changes in a patient is to be kept, it must be descriptive, as auscultations cannot be recorded. To solve these problems, electronic stethoscopes, also called digital stethoscopes, appeared on the market a few years ago. In these stethoscopes, the acoustic membrane has been replaced by a digital membrane, which can pick up more sounds and a wider range of frequencies.
In addition, the sound is not sent directly to our ears. It is first processed digitally, making it much easier to diagnose and detect abnormalities that would be imperceptible with an acoustic stethoscope.
Here are some of the most important features of digital stethoscopes:
This is great for including auscultations in medical reports, emailing them to colleagues for a second opinion, or even displaying them graphically as a phonogram.
As an authorized 3M Littmann distributor, we guarantee the highest standards of quality and service. The DocCheck store only offers original Littmann stethoscopes as well as original Littmann spare parts and accessories.
Would you like to customize your 3M stethoscope? When purchasing your Littmann stethoscope, you have the option to add an engraving to it when finalizing your purchase at the DocCheck store. A stethoscope with engraving makes your stethoscope unique and will be different from other stethoscopes.