What are the different types of Stethoscopes? Ultimate Guide and Difference

How to pick the best stethoscope because there are different types of stethoscopes in the market that works in the medical field for doctors, nurses, or any medical student.

Having more options than what is required, can become a complicated task for the person for making choice between them. This seemingly simple diagnostic equipment needs to be studied in detail by the buyer before buying. That is the reason why you are here.

Getting all your answers regarding the type of stethoscopes there are in the market in one place is the guidance you will be getting here.

Shopping for your medical school, the first day at your nursing facility, or your clinic can become more exciting once you have the right information with you.

The basic purpose of this instrument is the same but with slight differences which makes them the expert of their field.

They all have their specialty based on their anatomy and design build which suits the different types of medical professionals.

There happens to be several types of stethoscopes based on their design and size of chestpiece.

Main Types of Stethoscopes

  • Sprague rapport
  • Veterinary
  • Pediatric
  • Cardiology
  • teaching

Other types of stethoscopes include:

  • Electronic
  • Acoustic
  • Hearing impaired
  • Amplifying
  • Digitizing
  • Neonatal
  • Infant
  • Pediatric
  • Fetal

Mentioned above are some of the types that need to be briefly explained the common differences in their design, functionalities and fields.

Sprague Rapport:

This type of stethoscope includes dual tubes that are directly linked with the chestpiece and a metal curved eartip. The tubes are unified through metal clips to keep them stay put and together to boost the sound quality through dual barrel design.

Veterinary Stethoscope:

Not much difference is found in the stethoscope design that vets use and the ones which doctors use. Though there are specific needs and complications while treating with animals that are often not thecae with human patients.

For instance animals have thick fur on their bodies and that can cause distortion during auscultation. Minor difference that there is in the tool is that the tube is longer than many types and can reach up to 32 inches of length.

This length allows the vet to keep a safe space or gives a free hand when monitoring larger animals. The tunable diaphragm is another feature important in this type of stethoscope because you get to quickly adjust the position of it depending on the type of frequency you are receiving.

Furthermore, it solves the problem of noisy fur of animals by amplifying the sound.

Pediatric Stethoscope:

If you want to listen to the sounds of a human body or organ movement with precise detail, pediatric stethoscope can become very handy in this case.

They might look similar to adult stethoscopes but the difference can be visible if the color of chestpiece or size is different.

Its reduced chestpiece size is able to let the doctor listen to the child’s bodily vibrations which is important for the accurate diagnosis.

The color part seems more like a psychological trait because while dealing with a child, it can become a headache sometimes.

Children mostly cry or become anxious when they are sick or in pain so to calm their nerves, many brands have come up with this idea of colorful chestpiece.

Creating this as a distraction and letting the doctor do his job seems like a little step but creates a lot of difference.

Cardiology Stethoscope:

Distinguishing between the sounds of heart and lungs for a detailed and correct diagnosis, cardiology stethoscopes are the best option. It can look the same as ordinary stethoscope but the acoustic performance is much better than them.

The clarity on hearing different frequencies is much higher in this type of instrument through which you get to hear faint, rubs and click sounds as well. Such subtle movements sometimes are amiss in leading to the right diagnosis of the problem.


Whenever you see single lumen tubing that happens to be extremely durable in its approach, it has to be teaching stethoscope.

This type of instrument is used by students and teachers of medical schools since it is made with a solid stainless steel chest piece and dual headset. Giving you a sturdy look and function, both student and teacher are able to monitor a patient together.

Electronic Stethoscope:

Improving sound volume by electronic stethoscope is solved by this type of tool by converting it to electronic waves. Also known as digital stethoscope, it takes the vibrations from the body of the patient and turns them into sound by translating into electronic signals.

The more advanced version of this type of instrument has the ability to reduce background noise if the practitioner is working in a hasty environment. The volume can also be increased with this stethoscope which has been major issue in the acoustic type.

The ones that have a little LCD on them can display the frequency of patient such that they can be selected manually with the visibility of his heart rate. a separate chest piece can also be plugged into a pair of headphones.

Acoustic Stethoscope:

Serving you with the sound waves forwarded towards the ears of the medic is what acoustic stethoscopes are responsible for. Those vibrations are caused by the sound waves in the air and build pressure in the eardrums to direct them.

For instance, the gurgling sound of the stomach or a beating heart causes the waves of sound to travel all the way through the scope to the ears.

The tube that is installed in this stethoscope makes the waves direct them into the desired direction. The tubing which contains those sounds are also capable of letting you hear the to the patient’s body sounds through it.

Stethoscope for Hearing impaired:

The manufacturers who sell and experts who design these stethoscopes for people with hearing problems have really put thought into its making.

The increased volume ability just like in the electronic stethoscopes can be used by the people who wear hearing aids to take them off and still be able to hear the sound.

Wearing a typical stethoscope with hearing aids can become uncomfortable and maybe sometimes even impossible. A digital stethoscope can come in handy in this situation where a chestpiece is connected with headsets.

For this method to work, one needs to choose over the head and relatively bigger in size headphones.


Acoustic auscultation is converted into electronic waves of sound and further amplified. That amplified sound is transferred to the eartips into the ear canal which is why amplifying stethoscope has its own place in different types of stethoscopes.

It is the combination of hearing impaired and electronic stethoscopes because it serves you with the same type of features.


The smallest size of chestpiece is found in neonatal stethoscopes sized 2cm because it is used for newborn child. Its ability to bring out an accurate auscultation reading is because of its chestpiece so that you get to hear the précised sounds.

The newborn baby has a smaller body and does not have much space on their chest to put on a bigger tool.

Usually, the material that it is made with includes non chill rim and no latex to keep up with the sensitive skin of the baby. Also, ambient noise is blocked outside the ear tips so the practitioner is not disturbed with any obstruction.


With the chestpiece of 2.7cm, infant stethoscope is made for the monitoring of infants. The material and design very much related to the neonatal type but the size of the diameter is different as the child grows fast.

Stethoscope for Pediatric:

This type of stethoscope looks like the adult stethoscope and just like the previous one, its color and size of the metal piece. The looks in terms of colors are a good way to distract the sick patient who is in pain and can cause a psychological effect on him.

The shape might resemble to a toy or cute animal shaped or even something sparkly. It can become really difficult to treat a disturbed or scared child which is why experts have designed this type of tool that can easily distract the child with bright colors.

Fetal Stethoscope:

The construction is what makes fetal stethoscopes different from others. A bell is specified to the chest piece of the tool that is placed upon the belly of a pregnant woman.

By positioning the cup shaped bell correctly you get to hear the faint sounds and heartbeats of the unborn child.

Technology has advanced so much that you get to have a specific tool for each problem. The medical field is not leaving behind its perks and demands.

Much thanks to the manufactures and their expert teams, that put a lot of effort in picking the right type of components.

Recommended Posts: