A relative newcomer on the scene, Thinklabs stethoscopes are proving popular in use. You may still find some Thinklabs ds32a+ for sale but the current model is the Thinklabs One. Both are versatile and probably the closest to “one size fits all” we have in the UK at the moment.
The input/output socket is suitable for headphones and can also be used with hearing instrument accessories such as induction silhouettes (T setting), direct audio input and FM or Bluetooth streamers. But it is better to use earpieces or headphones if possible to avoid the problem of poor low frequency reproduction. You can also connect headphones or another Thinklabs stethoscope to allow dual listening.
The Thinklabs stethoscope connects to iPhone, iPod, digital audio recorders or computers to record sound and there’s an iPhone/iPod app to produce a visual display.
Conventional stethoscopes transmit sound by air conduction through the tubing, leading to some attenuation. The Thinklabs stethoscope transmits sound electonically along wire in the tubing to speakers in the earpieces. So if I’ve understood right, the earpieces are electronic and I don’t think it can be used with adapted earpieces. But it may be possible to adapt conventional BTE moulds to accept the stethoscope’s earpieces.
It also has noise reduction features.
The headpiece arms are adjustable, useful if you find the pressure in your ears or on your hearing aids from conventional stethoscopes uncomfortable.
Make sure you read the instructions carefully. You can set different filters and also adjust frequency response by the changing the pressure on the diaphragm. This helps bring out specific heart or lung sounds while filtering out others.
The stethoscope has always been available direct from the manufacturer. A few UK suppliers are springing up now so try an internet search. I try to stay away from recommending particular suppliers as there may be others I’m not aware of. But I do recommend Connevans who have recently begun to supply the Thinklabs One. I have always found their customer service exceptional. [Written Feb 2018]
- Have you read the essential safety information: “limitations of hearing aids and implants?”
- Consider funding
- Arrange a trial period
- And see how your audiogram matches up to heart and lung sounds to find out whether you need amplification or not.
- Don’t forget, hearing aids don’t usually reproduce the low frequencies well. So if you’re using earpieces, custom moulds or headphones over hearing aids you also need vents in your ear moulds or open fitting.
- Certain electronic stethoscopes can link to hearing aids using accessories such as the T switch, direct audio input (DAI) cables or even FM or Bluetooth if your hearing aids have these facilities. However it is better to use earpieces or headphones if possible to avoid the problem of poor low frequency reproduction.
Which stethoscope? Comparison chart.