Stethoscope help


My mother is visiting us and she has dangerously high bp. The Dr. wants me to take it frequently. I have an electronic bp cuff but i know taking it with a stethoscope provides more accurate results. I am not in NS yet, but learned to take bp in our physiology class. I thought my mom would be the perfect one to practice on while she is here. I will still use our electric cuff but can practice my skills with the other.

So, I ordered, through our pharmacy, an inexpensive stethoscope. My problem is I can't hear out of it! Since I haven't been to NS yet, I was hoping someone could give me the ins and outs of scopes.

First, what can i do to hear out of this scope? When i turn it to the small bell side i can hear a faint hb. I can't hear any lung sounds nor can I hear the blood rushing through the vessel. When i turn the scope to the large bell side, if i put my finger over the mini side, i can also hear a faint hb, no lung sounds and no blood.

With that said, it is a very inexpensive scope so which scope is the best of the best? Is this a common thing with cheap scopes? It might end up a toy for my kids!

Thank you for the replies. I am most impressed with the response I rec'd from my other post. Thanks!



187 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

I started out with a $20 Prestige and absolutely hated it. I had a hard time hearing a BP with it and couldn't even hear an apical. After that stethoscope broke and being tight on money I went to wal-mart and bought one that was attached to a BP cuff for like $10. I detached it from the cuff and used it for clinicals and it actually worked pretty good for the price. My friend has let me use her Littmann Classic II S.E. and it is the best steth I have used. So if you don't mind spending more I would go with that one.

9livesRN, BSN, RN

1,570 Posts

Specializes in SNU/SNF/MedSurg, SPCU Ortho/Neuro/Spine. Has 2 years experience.

you have to make sure the steth is on the right place, there are notes and even videos made by litman online!

google how to use a stethoscope!

where to place it...!

Do you have the earpieces in the right direction? They don't go the way you think, it looks backwards, but it's based on the way your ear canal is sitting. The earpieces won't seal well in your ears if they're facing the other way muffling the sounds with just the room noise.

When switching from the bell to the diaphragm part you have to turn the the piece so the hole is on the side your listening out of.

Everyone in the room needs to be quiet when you're learning. Turn off the TV. Don't take BP on the same side as a mastectomy. That's all I can think of for now.

Has 19 years experience.

IMO, pricier does not mean better with steths. I've had a $7.00 scope I could hear well out of and an $80. scope that I couldn't hear anything through. Technique is more important that which scope you use.

Specializes in OR. Has 14 years experience.

our clinical instructor showed us the other week something that made a world of difference for us, so it might help for you. normally when someone is using a stethescope they arent thinking where the bottom part hanging below your chin is positioned at. she said everyone has their "Sweet spot" meaning if you adjust where its positioned underneath your chin and keep it in that spot you can hear better. for me it just so happens to be where it lies naturally. i dont know if this makes sense how im explaining it. like if you bring the part where the earpiece base connects with the cord that leads to the scope itself. if you try adjusting it by moving it behind your chin or in front at a certain point it should be loud and clear. keep the base there :p ill try to explain it in a different way if you dont understand or maybe someone else could explain better :p

diane227, LPN, RN

1,941 Posts

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

This woman at work has a stetho that I have never seen. It displays the pulse rate on a screen. I have never seen this before. Expensive... about $500.00.

This topic is now closed to further replies.