Amplified stethoscopes assist healthcare workers who have hearing loss
A stethoscope is a critical tool in the delivery of health care services. It amplifies sounds within the body, making it easier for nurses, doctors and paramedics to hear a patient's heart beat, blood pressure and respiration, among other sounds.
However, when the person using the stethoscope has hearing loss, it may be next to impossible to hear those sounds accurately.
Fortunately, assistive technology can be used to help medical professionals with hearing loss deliver quality care.
Two of the most important adaptive devices are amplified stethoscopes and stethoscopes modified to use with hearing aids. They enhance the medical professional's ability to effectively listen to the vital sounds of the body.
Stethoscopes and hearing loss issues
Like anyone else, a medical professional might have hearing loss in the higher frequencies or they may struggle to hear low frequencies, known as reverse-slope hearing loss. Their hearing loss might be mild enough that they don’t yet wear a hearing device or profound enough to warrant cochlear implants.
Today’s sophisticated digital hearing aids are programmed to address hearing loss at specific frequencies, providing varying levels of amplification based on the hearing loss. However when the use of a stethoscope enters the picture, issues can occur.
To address these challenges, medical professionals with hearing loss have several options to help them address this common problem.
Medical professionals with mild hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids or those who choose to remove their hearing aids during stethoscope use may opt to use an amplified stethoscope. These specialized stethoscopes amplify sound as much as 30 times the normal sound quality and, depending on the model, can be used with or without hearing aids.
Who are they designed for?
Most amplified stethoscopes are designed for people who need extra amplification but do not wear hearing aids. Those who do wear hearing aids often find these types of stethoscopes do not provide enough boost when used alone and are not tuned specifically for their hearing loss.
Stethoscopes for hearing aid wearers
Medical professionals who prefer not to remove their hearing devices can reconfigure standard and amplified stethoscopes to work with their hearing aids based on the type of hearing aid they wear.
At least two amplified stethoscopes, ThinkLabs ONE and Cardionics E-Scope II, can be adapted for hearing aid users when connected to over-the-ear headphones. Also:
An audiologist can help you find a stethoscope solution
Since sound amplification and noise reduction are the two most important aspects of hearing well with a stethoscope, it’s important for you to choose a solution based on your needs and preferences.
Get the help you need
The best news for patients and medical professionals is that there are solutions for connecting stethoscopes to hearing devices. Thanks to today’s hearing aids, cochlear implant and stethoscope technology, it’s simply a matter of finding the best combination of tools to address both the hearing loss and amplification needs.
As a medical professional, see a hearing professional if you experience even minor hearing loss. And if you’re a patient, you can have confidence that a medical professional with hearing loss delivers the quality of service you demand.
To find a hearing care provider near you, go to our directory of consumer-reviewed hearing clinics.