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A comprehensive range of medical grade stethoscopes all manufactured to relevant European standards to ensure the best sound transmission possible. The range includes the iconic Littman stethoscopes renowned for their quality as well as a large selection of Sprague 2 tube stethoscopes and both single and double head single lumen stethoscopes.

 A stethoscope is an everyday medical instrument and whilst more often than not the public associate stethoscopes with doctors as opposed to nursing staff, as many a trained nurse will testify they also have to use stethoscopes in their day to day work on ward, clinic or practice, most often when taking a patient’s blood pressure (BP) measurement.

The first stethoscopes were developed in France in the early 1800’s and were very similar to modern day Pinard stethoscopes used by midwives and medical staff involved with anti-natal care, a model was known to have been created by in 1816 by René Laennec in Paris and this was basically a wooden tube which magnified sound transmission when held against a patients skin.

Later in the century, in 1851, an Irish doctor called Athur Leared designed a stethoscope with a flexible tube leading to both ears, effectively the world’s first example of the now common place binaural stethoscope. The design proved so popular that in essence it is little changed in basic design and function to this day.

Choosing the right stethoscope is quite a personal decision and a number of factors should be considered to ensure that you choose the right stethoscope for you.

Firstly the ear tips should form a good fit as they effectively seal the ear canal from outside noise distraction that might be intrusive during an examination or when taking blood pressure readings. A number of types are available and are often interchangeable ranging from shaped plastic ear tips to flexible silicone varieties.

The tubing of the stethoscope, which should be latex free, simply transfers the sound from the chest piece to the practitioner but even here the thickness of the tubing can be important and some users prefer a thicker tube which again helps to prevent external sounds interfering with an examination. This again is down to actual conditions of use, the medical task at hand and of course personal choice. Some users prefer specific lightweight stethoscopes designed to reduce that neck strain some nurses and doctors experience from having a heavier stethoscope around their necks for long periods. The length of the tubing should also be considered as is too short the doctors would have to lean too close to the patient and if too long then sound transmission would suffer, most modern instrument have a tubing length  in the region 50cm.

The tubing can also differ in design at this stage, many single and double headed stethoscopes and most Littman brand instruments have a single tube leading from the chest piece up to the sprung upper section where the tube splits to both ears. Whilst this is preferred by many a lot of nurses and doctors favour the Sprague Rappaport design of stethoscope which has two individual tubes being fed to each ear by distinct and separate tubes leading from the chest piece, some claim better sound transmission from such models but this is at the expense of a heavier instrument.

The tubing then connects to 2 metal tubes that lead to the ear pieces and are sprung to firmly hold the ear tips in place and this can in most cases be adjusted for comfort by simply applying a small amount force with both hands to achieve the level of hold required.

The tube then connects to the chest piece at the other end which can either be a single head chest ice with a diaphragm for higher frequency sounds or can be a double head stethoscopes which when rotated through 1800 will engage the bell side of the chest piece which is more effective for low frequency sound. Having said that though most users simply use this function to enable them to engage the smaller bell side when examining younger/smaller patients.

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