New Stethoscope Help :(

  1. 0

    After much research, I ended up purchasing a Littmann Classic II SE. However, once I received it and tried to listen to my own heartbeat, I could barely make it out. I had to strain to listen to it. I thought it would be very easy to hear and audible/loud, but it was pretty subtle. I know it may be that my heartbeat is more faint than others' as I haven't tried it out on other people yet. And yes, the earbuds were in the correct way and the ear pieces fit perfectly. I also made sure that the diaphragm was open and the bell was closed.
    Could it be that I'm just not used to auscultating and picking up sounds yet? Or maybe my hearing? I've never thought that I had hearing problems at all..Also, if I end up changing stethoscopes I am thinking about getting the Cardiology III as many people have said that it is loud and clear but I am worried that even after the extra money, that it won't make a huge difference. Any suggestions/advice?
    Last edit by parkj9 on Jul 4, '13

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 15 Comments...

  3. 0
    Don't do it on yourself, do it on someone else? Also that is a crazy good stethoscope so you should return it if not satisfied. Are you into cardiology or something?
  4. 0
    No, I'm currently a nursing student and will be starting in the fall so I was buying my stethoscope beforehand. I'm not into cardiology or anything like that but I've just heard that the acoustics on the Cardiology III is better so I was considering switching to that instead of the Classic if there is a problem.
  5. 0
    For me it was an expense that was unnecessary. You'll be doing just basic auscultation like counting apical heart rates and rhythms, lung sounds, and bowel sounds. You could use a super cheap one and be fine. Even as an RN now my very basic littmann is more than enough. I use crappy disposable scopes on the isolation patients and honestly I hear no difference.
  6. 1
    Really make sure that the diaphragm is open and not the bell. It's a classic mistake. Then double check the ear pieces. Are you listening through clothes? Check connections and make sure that everything is pushed in all the way. If you tap gently on the diaphragm, do you hear it? If not, I would turn the ear pieces around. It looks like they should go the other way. Are you applying enough pressure on the stethoscope? It doesn't have to be a lot. Do you have it on the right spots?

    At this point, I would lean towards human error rather than the stethoscope.
    Meriwhen likes this.
  7. 0
    Green34 -- Yep, I tapped the diaphragm and could hear and.i put in the ear pieces as they should be (angled forward). I think it could also be that I expected to be hearing very clearly and loudly but what i am hearing is the normal volume maybe?
    Last edit by parkj9 on Jul 4, '13
  8. 0
    RNmo -- Alright thanks for your input I think I'll keep sticking with this until I learn how to properly ausculate and see how it does.
  9. 0
    It may be. Try putting it below the left breast or look up apical pulse or apex of the heart. That is where you will hear it the loudest.
  10. 0
    Green34 -- I looked up the apex and tried listening with my steth and as you mentioned, I did hear it the loudest (very thumpy). I re-tried listening to the aortic valve, where I had trouble hearing, and it seemed pretty audible. I was also able to hear some bowel sounds as it was right after I ate. So I'm guessing it wasn't a stethoscope problem but rather, me thinking that I was going to be hearing very loudly and clearly with the stethoscope. And also, it was probably because I haven't had much experience using the stethoscope and taking auscultations. Hopefully I'll be able to get used to hearing the sounds once I start in the fall and properly learn them. Thanks for your help!

    I also have one last question. If this is about as loud as you'll normally hear, how would I be able to hear with distraction noises/in loud environments? Is it just getting used to recognizing the sounds and being able to find them in these situations?
    Last edit by parkj9 on Jul 5, '13
  11. 0
    You'll be surprised at how well the ear tips are at blocking out noises. I usually have trouble understanding the patients and their families talking maybe two feet away from me. However, some of the cheaper ones do not hide the sounds as well.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors