Electronic stethoscope? - page 3

I have had instances lately where I wasn't able to hear heart sounds. Both pts were rather large. I wonder if any of you use electronic steths and like them that much better than regular ones? Any... Read More

  1. by   sharrison27
    I mentioned i have a Cardonics. It does work wonderful and you dont have to take your hearing aids out.
  2. by   aviator411
    Perhaps I should pass along a bit of my experience w hearing aids as well. I had the good fortune to try out several different types and brands of hearing aids before choosing my Siemens BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids.

    I first tried some of the hearing aids which fit completely in the ear or the ear canal because I thought they would be more comfortable and convenient to use. What I eventually discovered is that a hearing aid which fits behind the ear will almost always outperform those which fit inside the ear or ear canal and having the device positioned behind the ear is not at all uncomfortable, in fact, I found the hard plastic device which fills up the ear or ear canal much more uncomfortable and far inferior in performance to the behind the ear device. With a BTE device the part which fits inside the ear, the "earmold", is usually soft and very comfortable.

    The other problem with the device which fits inside the ear is that it obstructs whatever natural hearing you have. In the case of most of us who have pretty good hearing at the low frequencies, loosing this part of the spectrum which we can hear without help is very disturbing because, no matter how much you pay for the hearing aid it will not come even close to reproducing those sounds which you can hear unaided; this makes for very "unnatural" sound which I found impossible to tolerate. For those who have a high degree of loss at all frequencies this is not a problem but it is for the rest of us.

    Since earmolds are available for BTE type hearing aids which do not completely occlude the ear or the ear canal, it is possible with these hearing aids to continue to enjoy most of the sounds which you are able to hear unaided and I found this to be enormously important.

    Another advantage of placing the hearing aid behind the ear is that the microphone of the device is located much farther away from the point where sound is fed into the ear canal. This means greater amplification can be achieved without producing the annoyance of oscillation and squealing which occurs when sound being fed into the ear manages to be detected by the microphone.

    But here's the most import difference of all. If you can't afford to pay $6,000 to $9,000 for hearing aids, you can get most of the benefits of the high end devices by buying a less expensive hearing aid which fits behind your ear. The least expensive BTE device will often be almost as satisfactory as the most expensive ITE (in the ear) hearing aid.

    Be aware that this advice may not apply if your loss is congenital or the result of trauma or pathology but it does apply to most of us who suffer age or noise-induced hearing loss primarily in the high frequencies.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by aviator411 on Feb 15, '07
  3. by   aviator411
    Quote from sharrison27
    I mentioned i have a Cardonics. It does work wonderful and you dont have to take your hearing aids out.
    Sorry, I neglected to mention that. With the current Cardionics scopes you can connect it to a lightweight pair of headphones and place them directly over most hearing aids. I'm told that in some situations it can be difficult to accomplish this without producing feedback but that doesn't seem to be a problem for you.

    I also neglected to mention that the Cardionics comes with conventional earpieces which enables the device to be worn like a normal stethoscope if you don't use hearing aids. Or you can even use the "normal" earpieces to wear the stethoscope hanging from your neck and still leave it connected to headphones over your hearing aids.

    Another neat feature of the Cardionics is that it can be connected to a PDA which can record the sounds. There is also PDA software which enables the PDA to display the sounds in graphic form like an electrocardiograph.

    Some of the other electronic stethoscopes also have the ability to record sounds.

    Last edit by aviator411 on Feb 15, '07
  4. by   jolleygirl
    Hi, I too am new here, and newly hearing impaired, glad to hear there is an electronic steth scope, i am currently using a loaner hearing aid and to do b/p's i have to keep removing it, which is bothersome, and making the ear sore, my manager conceded to get a digital b/p cuff, but the sales rep offered bad references on them, i have a loaner $1100 monitor, but the one the manager bought was for $55., i need to have it checked freq with someone doing a manual to compare accuaracy. do you have any feed back on these. fortunately b/p's are going to be my major hurdle as its an office setting (non cardiac) I talked to my docs about how they feel about the digital b/p, they are ok if it is maintaining a fairly accurate reading.
    looking forward to any replies.
  5. by   gonzo1
    I have a phillips I got from allheart.com about 4 years ago. I love it and it never leaves my neck. You do have to be more gentle with them than a regular scope. I shorted out my first one due to rough use. They were kind enough to give me a new one free.
  6. by   hcarroll36
    Regarding the message about contacting the state's department of vocational rehabilitation: Does every state have one of these? I can't seem to find this office for the state of Pennsylvania. Any ideas on what else to look for?
  7. by   jolleygirl
    The easiest way to find the Pa vocational rehab is to go to www.parc.org
    it will give you a list of states to choose from and the pa one will take you right to voc rehab section.
    good luck
  8. by   jolleygirl
    Just a correction to the web site for pa voc rehab, i recheck this site and it is a different site than i originally had, try www.dli.state.pa.us, at keyword type ovr, and it should take you to there voc rehab page.
    sorry for previous address
  9. by   Indy
    Question about the BTE hearing aids: Is it something that you can still stick an electronic steth in your ear without removing the hearing aids?

    My experience was that I had some hearing loss before nursing school, but never paid attention to it, and discounted the amount of lipreading that I did. (Hey this comes in handy with trach patients who want to mouth words!) Right before school I bought a steth and about had a fit, 'cause of course I heard diddly and squat, with a few lung sounds. So I went to get a hearing aid or two, wound up with one because they were godawful expensive, and was nauseous for several days on end with the darn thing. It was either ITE or ITC - I don't remember which- and due to the shape of my ear canal, they put the speaker in the "best" place. LOL! That produced the most amazing feedback when I stuck a steth up there. IF I got the thing angled right I could hear heart sounds but that usually resulted in me accidentally flipping the stupid thing out of my ear. So I took the darn thing back and got my refund.

    My first electronic scope was a phillips and I still have it, but it didn't do so well on obese people. It did just well enough to allow me to pass my checkoffs for vital signs and auscultation, and pass school. My scope that I now use is a Littmann 4000, it cost nearly $500 including shipping, and it works well. I change batteries every few months, no problems so far. I do worry about shorting it out though; there's a permanent bend in the tubing where it's always around my neck, and a kink right above the battery case thing from where I shove it in my purse.

    Currently I do have problems at work, but mostly with speech. There are some docs I have to work hard to understand, and a couple that I just prefer not to talk to on the phone, since I won't know what on earth they said unless I can see their lips move! I hear all alarms, beeping things, etc. I am trying to put off getting a hearing aid as long as possible! I work with a nurse who takes hers out to use an ultrascope. Occasionally we find 'em laying on the floor, etc. So we look out for her hearing aids, but I do NOT want to purchase something that expensive that I have to take off and possibly lose!

    Hence the question about BTE aids and scopes. Also, I wear glasses; do BTE's get in the way of glasses? (Good grief, I'm getting old.)
  10. by   aviator411

    No, my BTE's are not a problem w glasses. It would be nicer wo glasses but there's really no problem wearing both.

    There are a couple of ways to use BTE hearing aids and stethoscopes at the same time.

    One method is shown and described on the amphl web site. I've never tried it and it looks problematic and clumsey to me; it involves modifying the earmold portion of the BTE hearing aid by drilling an additional air passage in it. You then screw the plastic tips off the earpieces of the stethoscope (standard or electronic) and fit the bare metal ends of the stethoscope over the passages drilled through the earmolds. I think the earmolds can be ordered with the extra channel in them. There would be some advantage here in that you could use the more conventional style stethoscope but it looks pretty questionable to me even though there are people who swear by it.

    The other way to go with BTE aids which I described earlier in this thread involves getting "audio boots" for the BTE's which will accept a thin wire cable which connects to the Cardionics scope w a small plug or buying an additional "FM boot" for the BTE aids which will broadcast directly to the soon to be released bluetooth-enabled Cardionics scope. That's the way I'm going to do it. I hope to be Cardionics' first customer for the new wireless version of their scope any time now. This way there are no wires between your BTE hearing aids and anything else. The cardionics scope does come with conventional earpieces which enable it to be carried around the neck just like a regular scope but you never have to put the thing in your ears (but you can, if you want to remove your hearing aids and use it the conventional way) if you go the wireless route, just use the earpieces to hang it on your neck. Or, of course, you can remove the earpiece assembly entirely and just carry the box with the electronics and the transducer tube in your pocket. This is a more expensive solution but it will be well worth my money.

    Another variation on the Cardionics that others have mentioned here is simpler and a good bit less expensive. You can plug any lightweight earphones, ala Walkman, etc. into the Cardionics and just place the earphones over your ears while wearing BTE aids. In some cases this could produce a lot of annoying feedback but users on this forum don't seem to report such problems. Success no doubt depends on the characteristics of your particular BTE aids as well as your own type of hearing loss.

    The wireless solution sounds best to me. I'll gladly pay a few hundred $$ extra for the FM boots, etc. to be free of wires, headphones, etc..

    I think you'll find BTE aids superior in every way to the in-the-ear model you tried. I tried in the ear/canal aids years ago because I thought they would be more comfortable than having to wear something outside and behind the ear but I was WRONG. There is PLENTY of room behind your ear and the earmold which connect your ear to the BTE is FAR MORE COMFORTABLE than the ITE hearing aid. Modern BTE devices are much much smaller than the things you used to see years ago. Siemens even has a rather tiny BTE model which can used for peds. I tried a set of those. They were excellent and a lot less expensive than the what I ended up with but I decided to go for the slightly larger adult model because of a long array of enhanced features, automatic feedback cancellation, etc..

    If your budget makes it necessary for you to settle for a low-end set of BTE's they will still be FAR SUPERIOR to the most expensive set of ITE aids money can buy. I know this may be hard to accept but, believe me, I've done it both ways and would NEVER go for an in the ear device again.

    Hope this helps. Welcome to PM, email or phone me if you'd like more info on my experiences.
  11. by   bleppity
    For those worried about losing their hearing aids: Most hearing aids come with a warranty so that if they are lost they will be replaced free of charge. After the warranty is up you can always renew it for a pretty reasonable fee. I know Starkey has warranties, I'm sure probably other hearing aid companies do as well.
  12. by   pagandeva2000
    I didn'r know that they actually made electronic stethoscopes!! I am a new nurse, can barely hear the sounds and was considering purchasing a Litman that I saw where adjustments can be made. At this moment, they sound sort of expensive to me, but it may be worth it in order to hear properly. I am so happy to have gotten to this thread!
  13. by   Quickbeam
    Just FYI...in addition to being a nurse, I'm a sign interpreter and my circle includes a lot of deaf friends all over the US. Be aware that Depts of Vocational Rehabilitation differ very widely state to state. While some may provide devices to amplify your steth, others will not. Some maintain a priority list and you might not be their priority. Just FYI.