Without a doubt, the use of digital stethoscopes has been around for quite a long time now, but it has seen a significant rise in popularity ever since the global COVID-19 pandemic hit. This is partly because all of us needed to socially distance ourselves from other people, while at the same time, the health crisis increased and emphasized the need for cardiovascular monitoring.
That being said, digital stethoscopes are more or less considered as recent medical breakthroughs, especially now that we live in the digital age and most things now have digital counterparts. That’s why in this article, we’ll dive more into this medical device and highlight just how beneficial it is.
Looking Back at History
Before fully diving into the meat of this article, let’s first have a quick flashback to the past. The very first stethoscope was invented in 1816 by a French physician named Rene Laennec. The wooden tube was created because the physician didn’t feel comfortable placing his ear directly on the chest of young women. And thus, the stethoscope was created.
George Camman invented the earpieces about 25 years later, and people in the medical field have used this initial stethoscope for nearly a century. The very first digital stethoscope was invented in 1960 by David Littman, who developed the same concept but with better, more enhanced features than the first version. Since that time, his invention was acquired by 3M, and has since continued to evolve and perform at a more advanced level than ever before.
How the Market for Digital Stethoscopes Has Changed
According to a forecast by Future Market Insight, it is said that the electronic stethoscope will see a major increase in global sales. As a matter of fact, this exponential growth can be expected from 2019 through 2029, with a gradual growth of about $179.9 million USD.
Most of the time, opportunities are made possible thanks to medical institutes and ambulatory surgical centers. These are usually where there’s a need for digital stethoscopes. With this in mind, you can expect that as time passes, the electronic or digital variants of stethoscopes will slowly but surely replace the regular, conventional ones.
These days, we’ve seen an increase in innovative versions of stethoscopes, such as smartphone-enabled ones, wireless ones, and even Android-connected ones. At the moment, North America has the highest market for electronic stethoscopes. This isn’t that surprising, though, given the fact that North America has several healthcare facilities peppered throughout the region.
Some of the leading brands include 3M, Welch Allyn, Meditech Equipment Co., Eko Devices, eKuore, GlobalMed, and more.
What’s the Technology Behind This Device?
The stethoscope is perhaps one of the most useful medical tools that aid doctors and nurses and help them make an accurate diagnosis. Naturally, the digital stethoscope contains innovative technology that makes it more advance than the first stethoscope invented.
Regular stethoscopes have a diaphragm that is able to detect sounds, which are consequently sent to the diaphragm found inside the microphone. For digital stethoscopes, contain different kinds of transducers. Plus, the digital version allows you to choose between different frequency response modes for the best possible sound transmission, especially since it contains the aforementioned transducers which can reduce noise.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Digital Stethoscope?
Digital stethoscopes have a lot of perks that it’s able to provide, and the health industry has benefited greatly from using them. Using a digital stethoscope allows medical professionals to hear clearly, especially those who have a hard time hearing when using the standard equipment.
Of course, some digital stethoscopes have varying features and efficiency depending on the brand. However, they also have common features and benefits, which we’ll list down below:
What makes digital stethoscopes so useful is that they’re capable of amplifying the sounds that they pick up. Because of this, doctors and other medical professionals are able to diagnose their patients easily and more conveniently.
In line with the point above, digital stethoscopes help doctors provide more accurate readings thanks to the amplified sounds. These points also lead to reduced waiting time, and patients no longer have to wait a long time before knowing the diagnosis.
A digital stethoscope is able to function in a similar way to telehealth e.g. when it comes to reducing geographical barriers. This is because a digital stethoscope is able to convert sounds into electronic signals, which can then be amplified, recorded, and saved to be shared among medical professionals.
Record and Replay Features
As mentioned, digital stethoscopes allow you to record findings, but not only that, these collected data can be replayed to patients as well, so they have a better understanding of their diagnosis. The recorded data can be saved and kept on file for future reference.
When you think of digital, most people would associate this with a digital screen that you can look at. In a way, the same concept can be applied to digital stethoscopes because these also offer a visual display that doctors can look at while they’re listening. This gives medical professionals a better idea of what they’re up against or provides more information in case their hearing missed anything.
As mentioned, digital stethoscopes have transducers that can significantly reduce and block surrounding sounds. In other words, clinicians can focus on what they’re listening to without any distractions. Most digital stethoscopes have this feature, and it’s a major plus.
If you’re a medical professional or your work requires you to use a stethoscope, then it’s highly recommended that you get yourself a digital stethoscope. As you can see, this device has a plethora of advantages that will make your job so much easier, especially for those professionals who have a difficult time trying to hear clearly using the standard stethoscopes.
With a digital stethoscope, you no longer have to keep notes while doing a check-up—or at least this will be lessened significantly—because the device allows you to record data and keep them safe so that you can review again when the time comes.