Stethoscope functionality generally has not changed over the past few decades evolving from the monaural hollowed out wooden tube first invented in the early 1800’s by Rene Laennec to the more familiar long multi tubular version, improved upon by George Cammann 50 years later, we so typically see today. The core components of a modern stethoscope are comprised of:
- ear tips,
- binaural piece,
- and a diaphragm with a bell on the back.
The bell transmits low frequency waves all the way up to the ear pieces, while the diaphragm is designed to carry the higher frequency sound. The two fathers of the stethoscope left little room for improvement on the near perfect design for just over a century until a Harvard Medical School professor by the name of David Littmann turned the simple listening device into the versatile diagnostic tool resting around almost every health care professional’s neck today.
The Littmann iteration of the stethoscope is widely considered one of the best, top selling, most sought after brands in the market currently with multiple styles to suit every need. Many top tier lists have the brand mentioned in at least one position and some have even had more than half of their spots taken over by their many variations of the stethoscope. There is no perfect product out there, especially in a field as diverse as the medical industry, and each piece of equipment brings their own special feature so it really comes down to what one is looking for in the product. As with any market, there is usually always at least one product that shines out above the rest, often having two rival products battling it out for top spot. However, in the stethoscope industry, it is hard to find a product to rival the quality of the Littmann line of products. The Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope is often thought to be one of the best stethoscopes money can buy, but at a premium price of nearly $200, what exactly are you spending your money on for that kind of expenditure?
Some of the most sought after traits of a great stethoscope include the quality of the sound that is delivered, general comfort of the device in the ears and resting around the neck, is it cost effective and will it last. Alternatively, another key component to consider is the patient themselves who are often usually already suffering enough discomfort from injury or illness and even sometimes slight phobias. The length of tubing comes into play here as comfort zones should always be respected and also you may not necessarily want to be that up close and personal to an ill individual. A non-chill rim around the bell and diaphragm can also help keep the patient at ease as sometimes cold, bare metal can come off as quite shocking to some. All of these aspects and many more come into play when picking out features that make up the best stethoscope.
The Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope is undoubtedly a high performance tool that should not be overlooked and is a viable tool for not only Cardiologists, but anyone in the medical field. It is acceptable to use on adults and children. With a net weight of 6.2 ounces (175 grams) and a net length of 27 inches (69 centimeters) it is definitely one of the heftier, lengthier stethoscopes on the market. The chest piece features a finish of black matte and the color theme is continued all the way up to the ear piece in the standard model. The diameter of the diaphragm measures 1.7 inches (4.3 centimeters) and is made up of an epoxy fiberglass material which is also tunable to adjust tension for a clearer sound from the diaphragm. Claiming to be environmentally friendly, the dual-lumen tubing is made up of a Litmann trade secret material which does not contain any natural rubbers or latex, so no worries of allergy. No phthalate plasticizers were used to treat the tubing, meaning it was not chemically altered to resist breaking and cracking when bent, and is also FDA approved. The tubing boasts a longer life and has improved protection against skin oils, alcohols and staining. A spring is also included to keep the ear tips fitting snug, which are soft sealing, and come with an extra pair. The headset is made of a very lightweight and durable anodized aluminum which resists corrosion and finally, The Cardiology III stethoscope comes with a 5 year warranty. Hopefully though, it is never needed as people have claimed to carry their Littman products for fifteen plus years.
Apart from having an outstanding line of products, accessories and customization can raise the standard to a whole new level. Not only in the healthcare profession, but all over the world, stealing is a nasty issue, even sometimes being unintentional having picked up someone’s misplaced item and never being able to return it to them. Thankfully, having something that can set you apart from the norm so you can easily identify what is yours is an option here as the Littman line of stethoscopes offers a whole slew of customization options and now you may not have to keep such a watchful eye over that pesky forgetful doctor who keeps borrowing your bright pink stethoscope as it is easily visible, bears your name and even matches your scrubs. Apart from a plethora of color options and combinations there are even identification tags and as previously stated, one could even go as far as to engrave their prized stethoscope with their name or email address. Coupled with the customization options is a full line of replacement parts for all the wear and tear the Littmann stethoscope may endure. Unfortunately, as it is one of the heavier models, it may become a bit of a nuisance to wear around your neck all day long which could lead you to put it down briefly and misplace it accidentally so a batclip or some other small accessory may be advised to combat this minor inconvenience if one finds this to be a problem.
Other stethoscopes may sound a bit better, be a bit more comfortable, even come at a better price, but for top of the line products, there is no arguing the Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is a very powerful tool that is well suited to be on any health care professional. You can trust your life on it.