Hearing problems and stethoscope choices

  1. I don't know if this is the best place to post this but here goes.

    I am a first year student and have been practicing vital signs. BP is a real problem for me. Usually, in a quiet room, I make out the sounds fairly well. In a lab where there is plenty of background noise, I can no longer make out what I hear in the stethoscope. I have been diagnosed with a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. It is apparently a processing issue where my brain has trouble focusing on one sound when many are competing for its attention. In a crowded (noisy) room, I have trouble following a conversation though apparently everyone else can.

    Does anyone else have this type of problem? What I am looking for specifically are suggestions as to the best model of stethoscope to manage this problem without breaking the bank..unless I have to. For instance, a Littman Cardio III or their entry level electronic model or something else. I was told by ENT that 'boosting the volume' would help me to better distinguish the sounds coming from the stethoscope from the other sounds in the room.

    Any takers?

    Thanks

    N_T_L
    Last edit by Never_too_late on Jan 21, '05
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   manna
    Is there a store somewhere you can go and try different models?

    Electronic scope sounds like it might be a good option for you.

    Good luck!
  4. by   Never_too_late
    Quote from manna
    Is there a store somewhere you can go and try different models?

    Electronic scope sounds like it might be a good option for you.

    Good luck!
    An electronic scope with a portable amp on wheels! :chuckle Would the electronic (read expensive) scope be overkill? I just don't want to walk on to the ward the first day wondering if I will ever be able to take a full set of VS..sigh... I guess, you're right, trying them out is the only way to find out what works for me. I was just hoping to 'run into someone on this board with the same problem. I can already see myself at the store: "Excuse me, could I see this stethoscope please and while you're at it, please extend you arm and make a lot of noise while I take it for a 'test drive' "

    Thanks

    N_T_L
  5. by   JudithL_in_NH
    Quote from Never_too_late
    In a crowded (noisy) room, I have trouble following a conversation though apparently everyone else can.

    Does anyone else have this type of problem? What I am looking for specifically are suggestions as to the best model of stethoscope to manage this problem without breaking the bank..unless I have to.
    N_T_L

    I'm hearing impaired and moved from an $80 Littman, with which I could hear nothing, to a not quite $200 DRG PureTone Cardiology Ti-Lite which I like very much and can hear well with. DRGs acoustics are designed by BOSE (the stereo speaker people). Been using it for two semesters and really like it.

    However, I recently borrowed a Hewlett-Packard electronic scope (low end of their line, about $200) and was blown away by it. I may buy myself one for graduation, as it was even better than the DRG.
  6. by   chillywill
    Quote from Never_too_late
    An electronic scope with a portable amp on wheels! :chuckle Would the electronic (read expensive) scope be overkill? I just don't want to walk on to the ward the first day wondering if I will ever be able to take a full set of VS..sigh... I guess, you're right, trying them out is the only way to find out what works for me. I was just hoping to 'run into someone on this board with the same problem. I can already see myself at the store: "Excuse me, could I see this stethoscope please and while you're at it, please extend you arm and make a lot of noise while I take it for a 'test drive' "

    Thanks

    N_T_L
    I just got my Littmann 4000 yesterday (21st). I'll let you know how it preforms after I've used it a couple of days.
  7. by   Never_too_late
    Quote from JudithL_in_NH
    I'm hearing impaired and moved from an $80 Littman, with which I could hear nothing, to a not quite $200 DRG PureTone Cardiology Ti-Lite which I like very much and can hear well with. DRGs acoustics are designed by BOSE (the stereo speaker people). Been using it for two semesters and really like it.

    However, I recently borrowed a Hewlett-Packard electronic scope (low end of their line, about $200) and was blown away by it. I may buy myself one for graduation, as it was even better than the DRG.

    >>> Judith,

    Thanks. I guess you decided that the electronic scope provided better accoustics and you went for that. DRG, HP, ... that's what I worry about= Oh look at this new neat model.. but I guess I have to start somewhere. Are you worried it is more fragile than a regular scope? I noticed the warranties on the electronic models are 1 year against 5 for the traditional models.

    N_T_L
  8. by   Never_too_late
    Quote from chillywill
    I just got my Littmann 4000 yesterday (21st). I'll let you know how it preforms after I've used it a couple of days.

    >>> Chillywill,

    Thanks. I would really appreciate that. I may not be able to afford the 4000 but the 2000 is comparable minus the software and storage capability. Get back to me when you can.


    N_T_L
  9. by   Never_too_late
    Quote from JudithL_in_NH
    I'm hearing impaired and moved from an $80 Littman, with which I could hear nothing, to a not quite $200 DRG PureTone Cardiology Ti-Lite which I like very much and can hear well with. DRGs acoustics are designed by BOSE (the stereo speaker people). Been using it for two semesters and really like it.

    However, I recently borrowed a Hewlett-Packard electronic scope (low end of their line, about $200) and was blown away by it. I may buy myself one for graduation, as it was even better than the DRG.
    Hi Judith,

    Do you know if it was the HP-Stethos model you borrowed? Do you have a specific model number? What specifically 'blew you away'? Thanks

    N_T_L
  10. by   robfall
    You might want to try an acoustically amplifying stethoscope before investing in an electronic model. As a middle age paramedic, with high frequency hearing loss; I've found they work well, especially in noisy environments. Average cost runs about $40-50. Maxiscope makes several models, as does ADC. Good luck
  11. by   Never_too_late
    Over the last week or so, I have consulted my school lab techs, various manufacturers and suppliers of electronic scopes, and you here at allnurses.

    Last week, on loan from the store, I took a Littman Cardio III home. Higher end acoustic scopes provide clearer sound (in some instances) but do not make the sound louder. So, that didn't work for me.

    So this week, I went back to the store and picked up a Littman 4000. First impressions are very good. It is not too heavy. I have no trouble discriminating among the various sounds I hear. As I test it more in noisy environments, the verdict will become clearer and final..but if this doesn't work...

    It provides an additional 20db of amplification. It has a visual readout of pulse which can be useful. It is capable of recording and therefore data can be visualized on a computer. This latter feature is way beyond my current (and future?) needs..all I want is to hear better.

    For me, this Littman 4000 may be overkill because of some of the 'bells and whistles' it includes but the pickins are small in Canada. Not too many models available from suppliers in Montreal(Canada) anyway. Littman 4000 and Andromed I-Stethos are all I could find. Buying from a local supplier was important in case the need for servicing comes up...

    If you have some form of hearing impairment (not enough to require prescribed hearing aids), the options are rather limited where I live. At least, that is my experience. I will be glad to put this little adventure behind me.

    N_T_L
  12. by   Maggie in NC
    If you have a disability-which you do, you should be able to go to your school and get a discounted rate on an electronic stethoscope. I like the electronic Littmans BUT the warranty isn't as good as with the Master Cardio, see if you can try either out and make your own choice!

    Good luck!
    Maggie
    Quote from Never_too_late
    I don't know if this is the best place to post this but here goes.

    I am a first year student and have been practicing vital signs. BP is a real problem for me. Usually, in a quiet room, I make out the sounds fairly well. In a lab where there is plenty of background noise, I can no longer make out what I hear in the stethoscope. I have been diagnosed with a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. It is apparently a processing issue where my brain has trouble focusing on one sound when many are competing for its attention. In a crowded (noisy) room, I have trouble following a conversation though apparently everyone else can.

    Does anyone else have this type of problem? What I am looking for specifically are suggestions as to the best model of stethoscope to manage this problem without breaking the bank..unless I have to. For instance, a Littman Cardio III or their entry level electronic model or something else. I was told by ENT that 'boosting the volume' would help me to better distinguish the sounds coming from the stethoscope from the other sounds in the room.

    Any takers?

    Thanks

    N_T_L

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