Jump to content

Does anyone have a problem with hearing heart sounds?

student456 student456 (Member)

I feel as though ill never understand how to do this - along with abnormal lung sounds as well

for example, if one of my pts has a problem with their lungs and i listen but i just cant seem to tell if its abnormal or acutally normal sounds...am i the only student that has this problem?


Specializes in NICU.

I totally have that problem too and thought I was the only one. Lung & heart sounds are both super important and I really don't want to screw that up but I am having trouble with it. BTW, I just finished my 2nd semester/4. I feel like I should have this down.


lol i swear im going deaf or something hehe because whenever i listen to a pt's lungs with pneumonia i cant hear crackles. Im in 3/8 semesters but i still cant seem to get it and everyone else just seems so confident and i feel like i dont know how to do anything

Try listening to heart and lung sounds on everybody you can! :)


Specializes in geriatric, hospice, med/surg. Has 26 years experience.

there're tapes out there you can buy/borrow also on these sounds...they are a bit tricky until you listen to the extra loud ones on the tapes. They are extra pronounced and it is very readily apparent when it is an abnormal sound...the tapes also explain in detail how the sound is different than norms and what each one means....

Buy a good stethoscope! It makes a world of difference in what you hear.


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

check out this thread in the ccu forum. links for heart/breath sounds are found here:

helpful information for the unit

repetition is key. there are stethoscopes designed for those with hearing issues, too.;)

I had this problem in nursing school, but now I can pick up even the faintest murmurs.

I would advise you start with a very good stethescope. ie:if it looks great with your favorite scrub top but you can't hear a thing, you may need to invest in a better one.

Another strategy is to listen to EVERYONES heart sounds and breath sounds. Listen to other students and family members with no diagnosed heart/lung issues, as well as Pt's who are diagnosed with heart murmurs. This gives you a baseline of normal to contrast with the abnormal sounds you hear. Then keep listening, listen intently, and linger a little longer until you can identify what it is you are hearing. It simply takes practice and experience. Keep at it, and you will get it.

muffie, RN

Specializes in cardiac med-surg. Has 25 years experience.

rub the hair behind your ear between your thumb and index finger

that's what fine crackles sound like

muffie, RN

Specializes in cardiac med-surg. Has 25 years experience.

and definitely ask the floor nurses if they can recommend any pts with interesting lung/heart sounds

thanks - all very helpful tips to consider :)

This topic is now closed to further replies.