Every hospital, doctor’s office and health care professional needs a quality stethoscope to help them examine, diagnose and eventually treat their patients. Littmann is a world-renowned brand of stethoscopes, lauded for their high-quality and top performance.

These stethoscopes are available in many different sizes, types, designs and price points to suit the different needs of practitioners. However, given their differences, each Littmann stethoscope works in a similar manner. As one of our most popular products here at Team Medical Supplies, we have brought together all the information you need to understand how Littmann Stethoscopes work so well to detect internal sounds within your patients.

What is a Littmann Stethoscope?

Littmann Stethoscopes are medical devices used to measure the internal characteristics of a patient, such as their heartbeat. They consist of earpieces inserted into the doctor’s or practitioner’s ears to listen to the sounds, and a chest piece that rests on the patient’s skin in the examination area.

The chest piece is the most important component of a Littmann stethoscope as its responsible for delicately collecting the sound emitting from the patient and transmitting it into the device. This piece is either a bell or a diaphragm; from here, hollow tubing forks out into two channels to both earpieces.

How do Littmann Stethoscopes work?

Without getting too technical, the sound is transmitted when the diaphragm’s membrane vibrates after the chest piece is placed on the patient’s skin. The membrane is a piece of material stretched across a hollow cavity, and as it vibrates, it pushes the air inside the tubing, producing pressure differences and creating a noise that our ears can more readily detect.

It creates this sound because the membrane is much wider than the tubing, so when the air enters the tube, it moves fast, and the sound is amplified into a noise easily heard.

Below we expand further on the types of diaphragm chest pieces used in Littmann stethoscopes:

  • Tunable diaphragm: These types allow you to adjust the frequency of the sound heard. This is done by altering how hard the chest piece rests against the patient’s skin. Low pressures applied to the chest piece allow you to hear low-frequency sounds, while high-frequency sounds require a harder pressure.
  • Paediatric diaphragm: These stethoscopes are suitable for diagnosing children and come with a smaller diaphragm than regular types. The piece may or may not be tunable, and in most cases, the membrane can be removed to use it as a bell stethoscope.

Similarly, bell chest pieces have a hollow cavity, but without the membrane, and the bell is connected to the tubing that runs to the earpieces. Bells are better suited to low-frequency sounds.

Littmann stethoscopes can also come with double heads, where each is used for different purposes. These stethoscopes have one diaphragm head and a bell on the other side, where operators can swivel the chest piece 180 degrees to switch sides.

While there are many stethoscopes made with a bell, there is debate about whether they’re useful, and most professionals prefer to use diaphragm stethoscopes. As tunable diaphragms can pick up on low-frequency sounds just as well as bell types, the versatility of tunable pieces makes them a better choice with more range.

Team Medical Supplies is an Authorised Dealer of 3M Littmann Stethoscopes

Given their esteem and popularity within the industry, fraudulent copies of Littmann Stethoscopes are often sold as the real thing by less reputable retailers across the world.  Team Medical Supplies, however, are proud to be 2022 Authorised Deals of 3M Littmann Stethoscopes, offering our clients peace of mind when purchasing their items from our online store.

For more information, contact us directly by calling 1300 22 44 50, or leaving your details on our online enquiry form, and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.