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FAQs

Choosing

What is a cardiology stethoscope?

The generic term "cardiology stethoscope" has come to mean a stethoscope that have two tubes or dual lumen tubing. This means that an individual sound channel goes from the chestpiece to each ear. It appears as one tube but it is molded in such a way that there are actually two distinct tubes one for left and one for right. The result is that twice the volume of air flow will pass to each ear drum making the sound transmission significantly stronger.

What is a general diagnosis stethoscope?

The generic term general diagnostic or classic stethoscope tends to refer to stethoscopes that have a single lumen tubing. This is characterized by the tubing having a "u" shaped or "Y" junction that splits the tubing midway up the neck. In this case the sound to each ear is split 50% to the right and left. The result is less volume of air flow to the ear drum making the sound quality lower than that of cardiology stethoscopes.

Do I need a Cardiology stethoscope?

This depends greatly on your requirement. Generally speaking practitioners prefer the increased volume that can be heard with a cardiology grade stethoscope. You dont need to be a cardiologist to buy a cardiology grade stethoscope! Many EMTs, nurses, fire fighters, general practitioners and veterinarians are choosing models like the Littmann Cardiology IV, Welch Allyn Elite and ADC 600 stethoscopes for their versatility and great sound quality.

What are the parts of a stethoscope?

The stethoscope is comprised of 4 components:

  • The eartips, which are placed inside the ear, are designed to be as comfortable as possible and block out all extraneous room sounds so that you will only hear the sounds coming through the stethoscope.
  • The binaurals are the metal tubes that connect the eartips to the tubing. This metal structure is often times adjustable so practitioners can make the fit as comfortable as possible in their ears.
  • The tubing, sometimes refereed to as the hose, connects to the binaural and the top and chestpiece at the bottom. The tubing often comes in a variety of colors depending on the model and manufacturer. The tubing will be either be single lumen or dual lumen. The difference between the two is outlined in questions What is a cardiology stethoscope? and What is a general diagnosis stethoscope? in the FAQ.
  • The chestpiece is the metal part that comes into contact with the patient. It is either a single sided meaning there is only one way it can go on the patient with the diaphragm side against the skin, or a dual sided chestpiece. The dual sided chestpiece has what is know as the "diaphragm" side generally a white flat membrane and the "bell" side which is a conical metal shape with a rubber sleeve. The rubber sleeve is there for the comfort of the patient (nobody likes chilly metal on their skin!).

Ordering

Can we place an order for a stethoscope on the phone?

Yes, we have an extremely knowledgeable staff that can assist you from Monday to Friday 8:30 - 5:00 PM EST. If you dont like to place orders on the web we get it! We are happy to assist you. Call us at 800-238-2448.

I have a list of 30 stethoscopes with unique engraving is there a faster way to place this?

Yes, call us at 800-238-2448 and we will send you a template you can fill out to enter the names quickly to avoid errors and duplications.

The color of the stethoscope is not what I expected can this be changed?

Yes, in most cases we can accommodate a tubing color change. Certain models are exempt from this as they may only come in one color with particular chestpiece styles (rainbow, smoke, all black, brass, etc.). Call us at 800-238-2448 and we can assist you with this process.

Can I mix and match the tubing color and chestpiece style combination?

Unfortunately this is not an option. The stethoscope is an FDA Registered Class I device. This means that manufacturers need to obtain licensure to sell for the "exact" product details. This would include chestpiece style and tubing color combinations.

What are special finish models?

Several manufacturers produce special finishes on their stethoscope models that are designed to change the look of the chestpiece. The special finishes have no bearing on sound or quality of the stethoscope. Littmann, for example, makes different finishes for the chestpiece which include a Black Edition, Smoke Edition, Brass Edition, Copper Edition, Mirror, Champagne, and Rainbow Edition models.

Will the Littmann Black Edition chip?

No, Stethoscope.com has been selling and laser engraving these Black edition stethoscopes since 1998 and can assure you the powder coat finish is extremely durable. In the rare event that it does chip, the stethoscope would be replaced under the 3M warranty which can be up to 7 years depending upon the model.

Engraving

Does Engraving delay shipment?

No, Stethoscope.com pioneered the process of laser engraving and performs this function in house. Orders placed by 3:00 PM EST Monday-Friday ship same day. Protect your investment -- our engraving creates a permanent mark on your stethoscope that cannot be removed.

Does Engraving void warranty?

No, the process we developed 20 years ago is the same manufacturers have adopted for serialization and branding. Our unique laser marking of the stethoscope head will not damage or cause stress on the chestpiece and not void any warranty.

Do you engrave on the tubing?

No, Stethoscope.com only engraves on the chestpiece of the stethoscope. Engraving on the tubing will damage the tubing and can cause stress fractures. More importantly, some tubing is made of PVC which when laser engraved creates chlorine gas during the process. In order to keep our employees and work environment safe we will not do this.

Can you engrave special characters?

Transposing unique characters such as emojis and non-standard keyboard characters is problematic in databases. These things work fine in text messages but not so well in ASCII translations. When we develop a good way to do this we will add the option. Our standard font is Time New Roman which is a basic word font that is widely recognized as the most legible font.

Does allowable characters include spaces?

Yes it does. Each letter, number, punctuation and space are counted as characters.

Can I send a stethoscope back to change a name or add a title?

No, because we center the engraving within an available space, we are unable to add anything to a previous engraving.

Shipping

How long does it really take to get a stethoscope from Stethoscope.com?

We offer several shipping options. Most choose our standard flat fee Priority Mail ($11.95). We ship from Massachusetts and the delivery times to California range from 4 to 5 days. Depending on the shipping location, delivery times can be as short as 2 days. The Express Mail option ($38.95) is guaranteed 2 days with most shipments to major metropolitan areas arriving next day.

Can we pick up a stethoscope at your offices?

Yes, by all means, we like visitors! If you are nearby our offices located at 60 Union Avenue, Sudbury, MA 01776 we can accommodate you. We only ask that you schedule the time in advance by calling us at 800-238-2448.

Can stethoscopes be returned?

If a stethoscope has not been engraved, it can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of purchase if all packaging is intact. Engraved stethoscopes may not be returned unless defective in which case it will be replaced with the same model and engraving.

Electronic Stethoscopes

What is the benefit to purchasing an electronic stethoscope over a traditional stethoscope?

The benefit to purchasing an electronic stethoscope is that the typical amplification of sounds can be from 18-40 times greater that of a traditional stethoscope. That being said, it may not be required. Most practitioners with good hearing are capable of picking up all the sounds required with a good cardiology grade stethoscope. Typically, we sell these to people who are either techies (like us!), looking to record sounds and teach, concerned about the acuteness of their hearing, looking to do some unique auscultations, or for use on elderly patients with very faint heart and breath sounds.

What is the difference between the Littmann Model 3100 Littmann Model 3200 stethoscope?

The 3200 is Littmann's flagship product which offers the ability to record sounds on the stethoscope and transfer to a mac or PC via a blue tooth connection. These can be shared with colleagues for consult. It is and excellent way to learn sounds and collaborate with colleagues.

The 3100 offers the same exact acoustics as the model 3200 (24X amplification and patented noise filtering) and is our most popular electronic stethoscope. The only difference is that the 3100 does not offer the ability to record sounds for playback and transfer.

Can you use the electronic models with a hearing aid?

Yes and No (does that makes sense?). Users with BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids have great success with models like the Littmann 3100, 3200, Thinklabs One and ADC 658 . These models all use a traditional binaural set up where the ear pieces go into the ear.

If you wear an inner ear hearing aid, the coil wire can be a nuisance as the stethoscope eartips, when placed in the ear canal, can cause significant discomfort. In those cases we recommend the Cardionics E- Scope Headphone Model which can be used with over the ear headphones that plug into the stethoscope.

Are electronic stethoscopes durable?

Yes, each manufacturer has a little different standard on "drop testing" but we have found most models can be dropped on a concrete floor and still work just fine. The typical warranty on electronic stethoscopes is two years so you have plenty of time to abuse it!

What happens when the battery dies on an electronic stethoscope?

In most instances you are stuck looking for a new battery which is not a problem since our most popular models uses standard AA or AAA batteries which can be found anywhere. The typical clinical usage estimate for an electronic stethoscope is about 4 months of typical work week usage. Each model has a programmable shutdown to turn the stethoscope off after a certain amount of time when not in use. This helps to save battery life.

Can I connect an electronic stethoscope to my phone or tablet?

Yes, we currently sell two models (Eko Core and Think Labs One) that have available apps for phone usage that will display a phonocardiogram of the sounds real time or in recorded form. These can be very handy for collaborating with colleagues and teaching.

Do the Littmann Electronic models connect to a phone or tablet?

No, at this time they only support blue tooth streaming to a PC or Mac computer.

Diagnostic Sets

What is a diagnostic set?

A diagnostic set contains an ophthalmoscope head, an otoscope head and a handle. The ophthalmoscope is used by a physician to look into your eyes. The otoscope is used by a physician to look in your ears, nose and throat. The instruments in the set share a battery powered or rechargeable handle.

What is the difference between the battery types?

There are a variety of different batteries that are used in diagnostic sets. Nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride, and lithium ion. NiCad batteries do not have what is called a "memory effect" which is the ability of the battery to "remember" how much charge is in the battery at the time you charge it. As an example, if the battery has 30% use left in it and you charge it, the battery will only recharge the 70%. Due to this, you would want to run the battery down before charging as opposed to charging every night or every other day. The nickel metal hydride has a greater capacity for a charge than the NiCad but the lithium ion battery will last the longest. As well, the nickel metal hydride and lithium ion batteries are lighter in weight with the lithium ion being the lightest overall.

How long do the batteries last?

Battery life will vary from instrument to instrument. Typically, the instruments that use either a AA or AAA battery will last for up to 10 hours operation time. A rechargeable NiCad handle will last for 60 minutes of operation time while a Lithium Ion handle will last for up to 120 minutes.

What is the benefit of purchasing a Fiber-Optic set? 

Non-fiber optic technology positions the bulb on the floor of the otoscope’s head such that the light emitted by the bulb can be directed from the otoscope head into the ear canal. The bulb, therefore, can be seen through the otoscope’s eyepiece and can obstruct the line of sight to some degree during examinations. In the fiber optic otoscopes, the light streams through the otoscope head through a bundle of fiber optic cables around the perimeter of the speculum attachment. As a result, the fiber optic otoscope has a more concentrated and direct path, resulting in negligible loss of light intensity and can ensure an unobstructed view.

What is the benefit of purchasing an LED set?

LED bulbs have two advantages; the first is that it is the brightest out of all of the bulbs (LED, xenon and halogen) and the second is the lifespan. LED lights can last for thousands of hours of continuous use because they do not contain filaments so they do not get hot and require far less power.

How do I recharge a diagnostic set?

Most of the rechargeable handles that we sell either have an attachment for the handle that has prongs to directly put in a wall socket. Other handles have the prongs built in that can be exposed by removing a part of the handle and then plugging directly into a wall socket. Each manufacturer will outline the charging process in the literature that is included with the product.