If you have any hearing impairment that makes it hard for you to hear through a regular stethoscope, the best stethoscope for you is one that amplifies sound and can integrate with advanced software to utilize attachments and visualizations. This guide will review some of the best stethoscopes available on the market specifically designed to help those with hearing loss.
What sound level do the hearing-impaired able to hear?
Hearing-impaired individuals are usually able to hear sounds between 25 and 30 decibels. For comparison, normal conversation is around 60 dB; therefore, amplified sound up to this level is much easier for hearing-impaired people to detect and understand.
A good stethoscope will have a volume control that allows you to adjust the sound level to suit your hearing needs.
Unlike baby monitors for deaf parents with LED light options instead of sound notifications, a good stethoscope must ensure that the sound amplification is enough to raise the red line beyond the blue curve.
This review will look at both amplified general-use stethoscopes and specialty models designed for hearing-impaired individuals. There are some models on the market specifically designed for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, but they may not be suitable for those with more severe impairments. We will also look at the features to consider when selecting a stethoscope, such as sound amplification, acoustics, comfort, and convenience features. We will then review three of the best stethoscopes on the market designed for hearing-impaired people.
Understanding normal human hearing vs hearing by impaired
The human frequency range of hearing goes from 20 to 20,000 Hz. The frequency for hearing impared people is usually lower than this, and therefore they can’t hear certain sounds at the higher range of frequencies.
However, hearing sensitivity is poor at both extremes (very low and very high frequencies) and best in the middle-frequency range. This unequal hearing sensitivity across frequencies is why a good stethoscope must be able to amplify sound evenly across the entire range.
As the graph by SAMUEL R. ATCHERSON, PH.D., demonstrates, we consider sounds audible when they surpass the Hearing Sensitivity Curve. Someone with hearing loss (depicted by red circles), on the other hand, requires noise levels to be above their red circle in order to hear it.
Amplification is essential for Deaf Users of Cardiovascular stethoscopes
There are four broad categories under which body sounds can be evaluated using a stethoscope fall: cardiovascular (heart), pulmonary (breathing), gastrointestinal (bowel), and cervical (swallowing). Each category has a unique frequency range as depicted in the chart below. Notice how cardiovascular sounds have the most extensive range, extending down to about 20 Hz. Cardiologists need a stethoscope with strong amplification capabilities to hear the lower frequencies.
What if I am using a hearing aid?
There are two approaches to using a hearing aid with a stethoscope.
You can opt to take the hearing aids out to auscultate, and then put the hearing aids back in to communicate.
Alternatively, this health professional could modify the stethoscope so that it is acoustically connected to a sound bore in earmolds (see Applebaum 2003). While both approaches work fine, some people may consider them awkward, unsanitary, or unmanageable.
How about if I have a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implant users typically have great hearing sensitivity. In fact, it’s not unusual for cochlear implant listeners to achieve audiogram thresholds (indicated by a ‘C’) around 20 dB HL across the audiometric frequency range. However, even though they can hear very well, cochlear implants still cannot use conventional stethoscopes because the sound must be delivered to the cochlear implant processor.
What type of stethoscope should I get for hard of hearing?
When researching and comparing stethoscopes, look for features that indicate sound quality:
– High-frequency range (20–10000 Hz)
– Ability to reduce ambient noises
– Sound-dampening technology
– Low distortion rate at high frequencies
– Low-noise floor
– Equal sound distribution across all frequencies
When researching and comparing stethoscopes for the hearing impaired, consider additional features that can make it easier to use:
– Volume control/amplification knob
– Headset with comfortable ear tips
– Lightweight design (to reduce fatigue)
– Ergonomic design
– Ability to connect with hearing aids and cochlear implants
– Multiple listening modes (for different types of sounds)
To make sure that you are getting a stethoscope that best amplifies your hearing needs, look for models with adjustable frequency ranges or multiple settings to adjust the levels.
Types of stethoscopes available for hearing-impaired individuals
There are two primary types of stethoscopes available for hearing-impaired individuals; amplified acoustic and electronic digital stethoscopes. ped acoustic ones are powered by a battery, and they use filters to reduce ambient noise. Digital stethoscopes convert sound waves to electrical signals, which can be amplified further for improved sound quality.
Generally, digital models are more expensive than analog ones due to the additional features they offer. They have better amplification and clarity, are easier to clean, and can be connected with other devices. They also offer more settings for customized listening preferences. On the downside, digital stethoscopes usually require a power source to operate and may not be as portable as analog models.
How Top Brands have Designed the best models of Stethoscopes to meet the needs of deaf or hearing-impaired individuals:
Top brands for deaf/partially deaf individuals often have the following components:
Digital attachment for amplification:
Some stethoscopes have a digital attachment that amplifies sound up to 30 dB for those with hearing loss.
Highly sensitive diaphragm:
The diaphragm of the stethoscope is highly sensitive and helps detect faint sounds associated with various illnesses or heart murmurs.
Connects to hearing aid via Bluetooth: Some models of stethoscopes such as EKO come with a Bluetooth connectivity feature that allows them to be connected directly to hearing aids for better sound clarity. Eko models allow clinicians to connect Eko stethoscopes with any Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid or cochlear implant. This way, sounds can be streamed directly to hearing aids wirelessly for a much smoother workflow that also maximizes amplification.
Some stethoscope models use noise-cancelling technology, which reduces background noise and enhances the sound picked up by the diaphragm.
Many of these stethoscopes are designed with lightweight materials that make them comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Some stethoscopes come equipped with a noise reduction feature, which helps reduce background noise and makes it easier to hear faint sounds.
Some stethoscopes feature a built-in display that helps visualize sound waves, making it easier to interpret what is being heard.
The guide above should help you settle on your ideal stethoscope for Hearing impaired:
In conclusion, if you have hearing loss and need a stethoscope to help monitor your health, the right one for you will depend on your needs. The best models are designed with features such as digital attachments for amplification, highly sensitive diaphragms, Bluetooth connectivity with hearing aids, noise canceling technology, lightweight designs and noise reduction. Additionally, look for visualization features to help you interpret what is being heard. With these features in mind, you can find the right stethoscope that best meets your needs.
In recent years, several top brands have designed stethoscopes specifically for those with hearing impairments. These models are designed to amplify sound up to 30 dB or more. Some of the best models on the market include Littmann Amplified Stethoscopes, Welch Allyn Digital Hearing-Aid Compatible Stethoscope, 3M Littmann Caregiver Professional Stethoscope, and Binaural Acoustic Stethoscope.
What features should I look for in a stethoscope for the hearing-impaired?
When looking for a stethoscope specifically designed for those with hearing loss, you should consider certain features that will give you the best results:
- 1. Volume control – This will allow you to adjust the sound level to suit your needs, ensuring that you can hear clearly.
- 2. Noise-cancelling ear tips – Ensure that background noise is blocked out for better sound clarity.
- 3. Dual or triple head design – This type of stethoscope allows you to choose from different heads and diaphragms for improved sound quality.
- 4. Dual-frequency diaphragm – This allows you to hear a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, making it easier to identify the source of sounds.
- 5. Comfort grips and adjustable headbands – Make sure the stethoscope fits comfortably and securely, so that it’s easy to use.
- 6. Bluetooth connectivity – Some models allow you to connect the stethoscope directly to your hearing aid or cochlear implant.
- 7. Visualization feature – This helps you interpret what is being heard, making it easier to diagnose various medical conditions.
Overall Best Stethoscope for Hearing-impaired/Deaf:
3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope
Our overall best stethoscope for hearing impaired is the 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope, which is designed with features such as advanced noise reduction, adjustable volume control, comfortable fit and built-in display. Thanks to its high-sensitivity diaphragm and Bluetooth connectivity with hearing aids, this stethoscope provides the best sound quality for those who are hard of hearing.
To make it suitable for those with hearing loss, this model can amplify sound up to 40x (at peak frequency, vs. analog mode) and is equipped with active noise cancellation which reduces unwanted background sounds.
To take advantage of visualization for those that can’t hear entirely , this model Connects to Eko software which powers visualization with heart sound waveforms.
A bit about how I found this stethoscope. When I attached the Eko CORE Digital Attachment, and Eko DUO ECG + Digital Stethoscope, this stethoscope delivered excellent sound quality and noise cancellation, allowing me to hear a wide range of frequencies with clarity. The adjustable volume control also gave me the flexibility to dial in the perfect level for my hearing loss. Additionally, I found the Bluetooth connectivity very helpful for connecting it directly to my hearing aids or cochlear implant.
This model also has tunable diaphragms which be can use for infants or thin patients, around bandages, and for carotid assessment. Infants or small and thin patients with low blood pressure can be difficult to diagnose, but the tunable diaphragms provide more flexibility and make it easier to hear in those cases.
That’s not all. I found the recording feature incredibly helpful as it capture, save and annotate 15, 30, 60 or 120-second recordings in the secure dashboard. This feature lets me document what I hear and collaborate with other healthcare professionals. The secure dashboard also allows me to easily review my recordings on multiple devices.
Overall, this is the best stethoscope for those who are hard of hearing. It has adjustable volume control, active noise cancellation, tunable diaphragms, Bluetooth connectivity and visualization features, making it easier for those with hearing impairment to diagnose medical conditions.
ADC Adscope 658 Electronic Amplified Stethoscope:
Our next brand in this list is by ADC and it is the ADC Adscope with 18 times amplification capacity, which is considerably less than 40 times amplification by Littmann CORE’s above.
The ADC Adscope 658 Amplified Electronic Stethoscope is a professional-grade stethoscope featuring an amplified acoustic chamber that amplifies sound up to 18X (24dB) and eliminates background interference. The noise-filtering contact microphone also reduces ambient sounds, allowing you to focus on the heart and lung sounds of your patient. The eight-step volume control with last setting memory allows you to easily adjust the volume as needed during your exam while the stainless steel binaurals and clear tubing provide lasting durability.
With a multifunction button that controls the frequency mode (bell or diaphragm) and the volume (eight levels), it’s easy to find the perfect sound. The backlit LCD display powers down automatically if not in use, and the rechargeable Li-ion battery provides twenty hours of continuous use on a full charge. The high-impact thermoplastic housing withstands drops, bumps, and other contact, and the contact microphone measures 7 mm in diameter.
Eko Core attachment:
Eko Core is an attachment that connects to any stethoscope to enhance the sound and help you hear more. It attaches quickly and easily, with no modifications required. It features a digital microphone that captures the sounds of your patient with greater clarity than ever before. The Eko Core also amplifies sound up to 40x (at peak frequency), allowing you to hear even the faintest of sounds. The Bluetooth capability allows you to connect your device to any compatible hearing aid or cochlear implant, so you can benefit from hearing assistance technology without having to purchase a separate device.
The Eko Core also features visualization tools that allow you to view real-time heart sound waveforms, and you can record, save, and annotate up to three minutes of audio for later review. The Eko Core also features an adjustable volume control so you can dial in the perfect level for your hearing loss.
E-Scope II Belt Model:
The E-Scope II Belt Model is a belt clip amplifier that can amplify sound up to 50 decibels louder than acoustic stethoscopes. Its features include an auto shut-off feature to preserve battery life, filters for heart and breath sounds, a belt clip, output jack for headphones, and an assortment of bells and diaphragms. It has a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Best stethoscope with hearing aids:
If you’re looking for. a stethoscope that can be connected directly to hearing aids, the Eko and Littmann CORE model are the best choice. However, the type of stethoscope you need for your hearing aid depends on the style of aid you have. There are several main types: completely-in-the-canal (CIC) or mini CIC, in-the-canal, in-the-ear, behind-the-ear (BTE), and receiver -in canal or receiver -in-the-ear hearing aids.
If you have in-canal or in-ear hearing aids, there are special adaptors called stethomate tips that replace the ear pieces on regular stethoscopes to make them compatible with the hearing aid. On the other hand, some BTE hearing aids feature a plastic fitting called an audio shoe that can connect directly to an audio cable and plugs right into the stethoscope to transmit sound.
The devices allow clinicians to connect their stethoscopes with any Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid or cochlear implant, so they can stream sounds directly to them wirelessly and maximize amplification. Pods and android devices can also be connected to the stethoscope with an audio jack, making it easier for clinicians to record and share sound clips with other healthcare providers.
Large Over-Ear Headphones such as the one below by Cardionics can also be used in conjunction with your stethoscope to help improve sound quality and clarity. The headphones have a built-in amplifier which can be adjusted for volume and sensitivity, allowing you to hear sounds more clearly.
Q: What is the best stethoscope for hearing impaired people?
A: The Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope is our top pick. It has adjustable volume control, active noise cancellation, tunable diaphragms, Bluetooth connectivity and visualization features to make listening easier and more comfortable for those with hearing impairment.
Q: What if I don’t have a hearing aid or cochlear implant?
A: The Eko Core attachment connects to any stethoscope and amplifies sound up to 40x, making it easier for those without hearing aids or implants to hear. It also features visualization tools to view real-time heart sound waveforms, and you can also record, save, and annotate up to three minutes of sound for later review.
Q: Are there any other stethoscope models that are specifically designed for hearing impaired people?
A: Yes! The E-Scope II Belt Model is a belt clip amplifier that amplifies sound up to 50 decibels louder than acoustic stethoscopes, making it easier for those with hearing impairment to hear. It also features an auto shut-off feature, filters for heart and breath sounds, a belt clip, output jack for headphones and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Q: Is it easy to hear on the stethoscope if I have hearing issues?
A: Yes, with the right stethoscope and any necessary accessories like an Eko Core attachment or an E-Scope II Belt Model amplifier, it can be made much easier to hear on a stethoscope. Most stethoscopes also have adjustable volume control and noise cancellation settings that help make listening more comfortable for those with hearing impairment.
Q: How do I know if I am hearing all the sounds from the stethoscope if I have trouble hearing?
A: Visualization tools like the ones found on the Eko Core attachment can help you visualize real-time heart sound waveforms so that you can be sure you are hearing everything. Additionally, recording and saving up to three minutes of audio for later review can also help ensure that you are hearing all the sounds. Finally, adjusting the volume settings and using a belt clip amplifier like the E-Scope II Belt Model can help make sure you are hearing all the sounds.
Q: Will the stethoscope damage my ears?
Having the volume too loud on any device, stethoscope or otherwise, can damage your ears. Make sure to always keep the volume at a safe level and use headphones if available. Additionally, using noise cancellation settings and an Eko Core attachment or an E-Scope II Belt Model amplifier can help you achieve a comfortable listening experience without having to turn the volume to unsafe levels.
Q: Are there any special considerations I should take into account when buying a stethoscope for hearing impaired people?
A: Yes! Make sure to look for features like adjustable volume control, active noise cancellation, tunable diaphragms, visualization functions and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, consider investing in ano Core attachment, or an E-Scope II Belt Model amplifier to make listening easier and more comfortable for those with hearing impairment. Finally, look for a stethoscope that has a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. This will give you peace of mind in case anything goes wrong with your purchase.
Let’s conclude it:
Having difficulty hearing on a stethoscope does not have to be a barrier to providing quality patient care. With the right stethoscope, accessories, and features that help those with hearing impairment, you can make sure you are hearing all the sounds in order to provide quality care.
We have reviewed some of the best stethoscopes for those with hearing impairment and provided answers to FAQs about using stethoscopes for those with hearing issues. We hope this guide will help you find a stethoscope that works for your needs. Happy listening!