Frequently Asked Questions
This post aims to help guide individuals looking for answers about stethoscopes. These questions have been compiled from amphl.org, the Facebook organization page, the Facebook group, and the amphl.org contact form emails. The answers are current as of the date posted and will not be updated in each post. As new technology and techniques emerge, please check the most recent FAQ posts for the most up to date answers. The current options available on the market can be compared at our Stethoscope Comparison Table.
If you have a question you’d like to see in the FAQ, please post it in the comment section and we will compile another FAQ in the future. However, if you need an answer quickly, please post on the Facebook group or talk with your audiologist and the stethoscope companies directly.
Keep in mind that these answers are not personal recommendations tailored to your hearing loss or circumstances and, to find the best fit for yourself, we recommend working with your audiologist and the stethoscope companies.
I have a cochlear implant. How can I use an amplified stethoscope with it?
For those interested in Thinklabs One, please check out this helpful page at the Thinklabs website. As of this posting, the information specific to cochlear implants is summarized as follows:
You can use standard over-the-ear headphones (recommended as it helps reduce ambient sound and surrounds the sound processor) plugged into the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the Thinklabs One. You can also use a Personal Audio Cable provided by your cochlear implant company with the sound processor. Those with Nucleus 6 can use Cochlear Mini-Microphone to transmit wirelessly to the CI. The One is connected by a cable to the MiniMic. Older Nucleus models would require the personal audio cable to connect to MiniMic. Thinklabs also sells a Bluetooth transmitter-receiver pair that can be used with Bluetooth receivers and headphones with wireless capability.
For those interested in Cardionics E-scope II, there is no Bluetooth or wireless capability. The sound processor can be connected with cable to the audio jack on the stethoscope. Cardionics also sells several headphones separately.
The Littmann 3100/3200 electronic stethoscope is not compatible with cochlear implants. While it does have Bluetooth capability, it is paired only with a Bluetooth dongle for its Zargis SethAssist software.
*Remember you may need to work with your audiologist and the stethoscope company to determine the optimal set up for you and/or have stethoscope mapping done.
I have hearing aids. How can I use an amplified stethoscope with it?
Regardless of the hearing aid you have, headphones can be used with hearing aids. With the exception of open-fit BTE hearing aids, you can also use a streamer provided by your hearing aid company that is plugged into the One and will directly transmit sounds to your hearing aids. Thinklabs does not recommend pairing Bluetooth transmitters to your streamer. A Widex user has used the T-coil paired with T-Dex or Music Link from TecEar with the Thinklabs One. If you have ReSound or Beltone hearing aids, it can be used with the Cochlear Mini-Microphone connected by cable with the One to transmit wirelessly to your hearing aids.
For those interested in Cardionics E-scope II, headphones (over-the-ear or on-the-ear depending on the hearing aid used) are plugged into the audio jack on the stethoscope. A direct audio input (DAI) boot can also be used with your hearing aids and the E-scope.
For the Littmann 3100/3200 electronic stethoscope, it cannot be adjusted to work with your hearing aids. You would have to remove your hearing aids and place the earpieces in your ears. While it does have Bluetooth capability, it is paired only with a Bluetooth dongle for its Zargis SethAssist software.
*Remember that you may need to work with your audiologist and the stethoscope company to determine the optimal set up for you and/or adjust the frequency settings on your hearing aids.
I have hearing aids but am able to hear with a standard stethoscope. Is there a way I can avoid removing my hearing aids each time I use a stethoscope?
You could consider having dual-canal ear molds made that the earpieces (without the ear tips) can fit in. Please read this paper from the Summer 2003 JAMPHL edition by Steven Applebaum, D.O. that outlines this in more detail.
Which headphones are appropriate for hearing aids with Cardionics E-scope II?
Cardionics E-scope has a standard 3.5 mm audio jack. They sell a variety of headphones separately as well. ITE hearing aids or BTE with in the ear receiver can be used with on-the-ear or over-the-ear headphones, while BTE hearing aids should be used with over-the-ear headphones.
Which headphones are appropriate for hearing aids with Thinklabs One?
Thinklabs recommends the Beats Executive headphones and sells them via their website. However, any standard headphones that can be plugged into the standard 3.5mm audio jack can be used. ITE hearing aids or BTE with in the ear receiver can be used with on-the-ear headphones, while BTE hearing aids should be used with over-the-ear headphones.
I have or am getting new hearing aids (or cochlear implants). Which is the best amplified stethoscope for these hearing aids/cochlear implants?
The best answer is the stethoscope that works the best for you. We suggest trying out the different stethoscopes available and working with your audiologist to find the one that works best for you. Thinklabs and Cardionics offer a 30-day trial period. You should contact the company for more details on their trial periods as they may have shipping or restocking fees.
For clinical situations that require contact precautions, how should I handle my stethoscope?
Generally, people either clean the stethoscope before and after the encounter with the wipes provided or they use a disposable glove to cover the chestpiece.