As an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), you already understand the importance of using precise and accurate tools while diagnosing your patients.
One of the tools you just cannot do without is a reliable stethoscope. The various stethoscopes available today are designed to carry out similar tasks, but are they the same?
Absolutely not; these diagnostic tools come in a myriad of sizes and shapes. So, which of the stethoscopes is ideal for an EMT professional? The right choice for the best EMT stethoscope will be determined by several factors.
If you are looking for the best unit, you need to consider such aspects as the acoustics, material, chest piece, earpieces, and tubing of the various stethoscopes; as discussed in this review.
However, you may not have time to do extensive research. This is why we compiled a list of the top rated stethoscopes for you.
Best Stethoscopes for EMT 2018
|3M Littmann Classic III|
|3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E|
|Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope|
|MDF® Rose Gold MD One|
|ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope|
1. 3M Littmann Classic III – Best OverallThe Littmann Classic III Stethoscope is produced by one of the best stethoscope manufacturers in the industry today. As such, the product is simply exceptional.
To being with, this stethoscope offers high acoustic sensitivity for outstanding performance. Featuring a modern design and tunable diaphragms, this tool is ideal for general physical assessment of patients. The latest version of the stethoscope is loved by millions of medical students and practitioners across the globe.
Most of the leading EMT professionals find the Classic III perfect for listening to, identifying and studying body parts, such as lungs and the heart. This makes the tool ideal for diagnosis, patient monitoring and physical assessment.
The stethoscope allows you to adjust the tension of the headset. As such, it offers a customizable and comfortable fit for different head shapes.
2. 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E – Best Entry-Level StethoscopeThe 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E stethoscope is essentially an entry-level tool. As such, it is designed to be user friendly. The tool features a tunable diaphragm as well as a dual-sided chestpiece.
Just like the other products by this manufacture, this Lightweight II S.E offers remarkable acoustic performance. This being the case, this stethoscope may be used for limited physical assessments in adults and taking blood pressure readings.
The tool features a teardrop design, which makes it better suited for auscultation around the patient’s blood pressure cuffs. You will also love its light weight.
Weighing just above a pound, the Lightweight II S.E is the lightest stethoscope by this manufacturer today.
3. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope – Most Affordable StethoscopeIf you are looking for versatility and affordability in your EMT stethoscope, the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope is a great choice.
With regards to versatility, the stethoscope is fitted with three open bells of different sizes. Additionally, the tool comes with two different pairs of ear-tips as well as two diaphragms of different sizes. It is such features that make this Omron stethoscope a great 5-in-1 multi-purpose diagnostic tool.
You will definitely love the fact that the tubing in this tool is not made of latex, a material that could trigger allergic reactions in some patients. The manufacturer offers this product in several chest piece colors.
4. MDF® Rose Gold MD One Stethoscope – Clear & Crisp AcousticsYou may have been attracted to this stethoscope by its appealing aesthetics. However, the product has much more to offer, than just the good looks and luxury.
The acoustics offered by this stethoscope, for example, are clear and crisp. This quality makes it ideal for picking bowel, lung and heart sounds.
With regards to its design, the stethoscope does not frustrate either. The MDF Rose Gold MD One units feature a rather unique stainless steel construction.
Additionally, it is equipped with an anatomically angled headset, along with silicone ComfortSeal Eartips. These are soft and comfortable to wear for long hours.
5. ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope – Best AFD StethoscopeJust like the other products by the ADC manufacturer, the Adscope 615 boasts of rugged durability, exceptional performance, unmatched value and comfort.
Other aspects that make this unit stand out from its competitors include the innovative AFD technology by the manufacturer, and an oversized chestpiece. As a matter of fact, it is the finest clinical series product by the manufacturer.
As you can imagine, this stethoscope offers an outstanding acoustic performance. This may be attributed to its large chestpiece, CNC precision-machined construction and adjustable frequency design (AFD) technology.
The quality and performance of this product is backed by a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Stethoscope for EMT
As a healthcare professional, there are certain tools that you need for you to be more effective at what you do. One such tool is a good stethoscope.
As a matter of fact, a stethoscope is one of the most used diagnostic tools by emergency medical practitioners today.
Your choice of a good stethoscope will mainly be determined by your professional and work requirements.
However, there are several other aspects that you need to consider while shopping for the best unit.
If you are looking for the bets stethoscope for EMT, here are some of the considerations you need to make:
1. The Type of Stethoscope
You probably are aware that there are several types of stethoscopes available today. In this regard, you need to understand that the various stethoscope types are designed differently.
As such, each of them is designed to accomplish a different task. Based on your preferences and career requirements, here are some of the types you should consider:
These are the most common types of stethoscopes today, commonly used by veterinarians, physicians EMTs and paramedics. Additionally, some of the leading experts in the industry consider Acoustic stethoscopes to be the most reliable.
This may be attributed to the fact that the units do not require additional equipment. If this is your preferred type of stethoscopes, you may need to go for the ones that have a tunable diaphragm.
This feature amplifies the sound using pressure variances, making the units easier to use.
These are relatively simple in design. Most of the fetal stethoscopes available today have a design that resembles a horn or trumpet. However, they are designed to detect the faint heartbeats of a baby. As such, you may not use them for any other medical application.
As opposed to the mechanical diaphragm used in acoustic stethoscopes, the electronic units use an electromagnetic diaphragm.
This makes the best electronic stethoscopes very effective at detecting low-frequency sounds. Owing to their complexity and effectiveness, these units are comparatively costlier.
With regards to their design, cardiology stethoscopes are similar to the acoustic units. However, the best cardiology stethoscopes allow you to fine-tune the diaphragm to pick up the faintest sounds.
These units are commonly used by cardiologists to diagnose such heart conditions as arrhythmia and murmurs. If you work in a loud environment, this may not be the right stethoscope type for you.
3. Parts of the Stethoscope
Having decided the type of stethoscope you would like to buy, you need to narrow down to individual models. Although the various stethoscopes available today are several parts that are common, they are not all the same.
Basically, the cheaper stethoscope models come with basic versions of such parts. Such models are only suitable for professionals who do not need many features.
The higher-end units, on the other hand offer a variety of those parts. This being the case, you should ensure that your preferred choice has the parts you need.
In this regard, you need to consider the following parts:
The Chest Piece
When choosing the right chest piece, you will have to choose between the double-headed and the single-headed chest pieces. The double-head chest pieces by the leading brands are equipped with a bell on one side and a diaphragm on the other.
As such, you may use the bell to listen to low frequencies and the diaphragm for higher frequencies.
Again, you will also need to choose the right diameter for your stethoscope chest piece. If you work with patients of different sizes, it is advisable to go for the stethoscopes with interchangeable chest pieces.
This is particularly beneficial for nurses, pediatric practitioners, veterinary professionals and respiratory therapists. Regardless of your preferred chest piece diameter, you should opt for the ones with a non-chill rim. These are considered to be more comfortable for the patients.
As for the earpieces, you can choose between the rigid and the soft options. However, these are available in several sizes. If you are going to be using the stethoscope more frequently, you should consider buying one with interchangeable earpieces.
Additionally, it is advisable to get a unit that allows you to adjust the angle of the earpieces. Such units will offer you a more comfortable, customizable fit.
Style and Length of the Tubing
Most of the best stethoscopes for EMT today have varying tube lengths, ranging between 22 and 28 inches. With longer tubing, the stethoscope will drape around your neck and remain in place at all times.
However, such a unit will keep you farther away from the patient you are diagnosing. With regards to the color of the tubing, you can opt for any that you find appealing.
However, you should avoid stethoscopes with latex tubing. This is because some people are allergic to latex. As such, the unit could have negative effects on patients who are allergic to latex. You also need to choose between the double-bore and the single-bore stethoscope tubing.
Alternatively, you can opt for the units with bi-lumen tubes. In such EMT stethoscopes, the two types of tubes are incorporated into one tube. This feature is helpful at preventing noise artifacts.
Again, you also need to know that wider tubes improve the quality of sound delivered by the stethoscope. This is why the wider bi-lumen or double-bore tubing designs are known to offer the best sound quality.
The choice of the right stethoscope for EMT will mainly depend on the intended application.
As you have learned in this guide, there are several things that you need to consider while looking for the best one.
Rather than having to try out the hundreds of stethoscope models available today, you should just choose any of the five reviewed above.
This is because we took the time to select some of the best EMT stethoscopes on the market.