How Much Does a Stethoscope Cost?
A stethoscope is a medical instrument that is used to amplify sounds within the body such as the heartbeat in your chest. Stethoscopes are usually used by doctors and nurses at clinics but can also be used at home.
How much does it cost?
- On average, a stethoscope is going to range in price anywhere from as little as $10 to as much as $250. For home use, most basic stethoscopes are going to be between the $10 to $80 range, while stethoscopes built for a medical professional can cost upwards of $250 or more.
- For example, this popular Omron Sprague Stethoscope retails for $10 to $14.
- Acoustic stethoscopes, on the other hand, retail for $20 to $140. This type of stethoscope will not amplify the sound when pressed against the chest.
- According to Stethoscope.com, a Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope retails for $149. This site also sells the ADC 603 Ninja General Diagnostic Stethoscope for $55.
- According to forums.studentdoctor.net, the cost of stethoscopes that are made by a major brand is usually around $120 to $200.
What is going to be included?
- When purchasing a stethoscope, you are able to choose from several designs and materials. The different types of stethoscope include: single stethoscopes, which are designed for use in one ear rather than both; binaural stethoscopes, made for use in both ears; electronic stethoscopes, in which the sounds are amplified electronically; and differential stethoscopes, in which listeners are able to compare the sounds at 2 different body parts simultaneously. There are also several stethoscopes that are designed particularly for hearing the esophagus or the fetal heartbeat.
- Most brands include a handful of ear tips, a storage case, open bells and different diaphragm sizes.
- Premium stethoscopes can have different sound dials that enable you to amplify the sounds at a different level.
What are the extra costs?
- The stethoscope’s ear tips should be replaced most likely every month, but it depends on how often the stethoscope is used. Ear tips may cost you between $1 and $10, depending on the material from which they are made. Ear tips that are made of a gel are more comfortable for use; however, they are more expensive.
- If you are going to buy a digital stethoscope, you will be required to purchase batteries for it, which can either be rechargeable or disposable. Batteries for this type of stethoscope ranges between $2 and $10 which comes in four-pack.
Factors that influence the price:
- The Design. Stethoscopes have various designs. Some stethoscopes are Y-shaped and others are two-sided. Each design has a different price.
- The Quality. The quality of the stethoscope can be determined through the material from which it is made. Stethoscopes that are of high quality are much more expensive than those with standard quality.
- The Material. Stethoscope prices depend on the material used in its build, and the most common stethoscope material is rubber tubing.
Tips to know:
- If you want to buy an acoustic stethoscope for home use, it can be purchased at local pharmacies, medical supply shop and online stores. It does not require any prescription. You may check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of tips online. Those tips are meant to help people like you who are buying medical devices online. They will help you find a supplier of FDA-approved devices.
- If you are purchasing a stethoscope for your home, it will be useless unless you know how to use it and exactly what you are listening for. Without this information, you will not know how to interpret your readings. Here are some tips for use:
- Inspect the stethoscope for quality and damage. The best stethoscopes have a tube for each ear piece rather than a single tube. Also, the best tubing is thick, short, and relatively stiff, with a small bore. Also, make sure that tubing is free of leaks.
- Find a relatively quiet area to ensure that the body sounds are not overpowered by background noise.
- Insert each of the two ear pieces into your ears. Be sure that the ear pieces fit snugly and have a good seal to keep out ambient noise. The earpieces can also be tilted slightly forward on some stethoscopes to ensure a better fit.
- Use the stethoscope on bare skin to avoid picking up the sound of rustling fabric and wet the skin with warm water to avoid sound pollution from the small hairs on the skin.
- If you are a doctor and you are purchasing a new stethoscope, you may check some consumer magazines for physicians. There is this recently published review of 12 famous acoustic stethoscopes and based on the reviews, the Littman Cardiology III stethoscope has the highest performance rating.
- If you are going to use the stethoscope on a daily basis, it is best to purchase the highest quality as well as the most comfortable ear tips.
How can I save money?
- If your purpose of purchasing a stethoscope is for home use only, do not consider the electronic or digital types. Choose acoustic stethoscopes for home use because they are a lot cheaper. Digital stethoscopes are usually for medical professionals only and they can be very complicated to use if you are not familiar with their functions.
- If the stethoscope is going to be for home use only, you should not have to spend any more than $20 to $30.
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