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An amplified stethoscope is an instrument that is used by hearing-impaired medical professionals and students. It is an Assistive Listening Device (ALD) that allows them to hear the sounds of their patient's hearts, lungs and other systems of the body when necessary. The stethoscope electronically amplifies these sounds so that the person who is using it can hear more easily while performing an examination. Adjustments to reduce background noises may also be made using this type of stethoscope.
Many amplified stethoscopes are designed so that the user may adjust the sound frequency from low to high during examinations. The low-frequency mode is often called the bell mode. This mode is for listening to lower frequency sounds, like certain sounds made by the heart. Higher frequency sounds, such as the sounds made by the lungs, can be heard using the diaphragm mode.
Amplified stethoscopes are electronic and typically run on batteries. They can be used by people who wear hearing aids and hearing-impaired people who do not require them. A stand-alone amplified stethoscope is typically used when a hearing device is not worn. Other types of amplified stethoscopes are made to work with hearing aids using various types of attachments.
Stand-alone amplified stethoscopes are not made to attach to any other type of hearing device. When using the instrument, the user places the earpiece in his ears to hear. People who normally wear a hearing device may choose to remove their aids and use a stand-alone stethoscope.
Attachments are necessary to successfully use other types of amplified stethoscopes while wearing hearing devices. The type of attachment primarily depends on the type of hearing aid worn. People who wear hearing aids that are In The Canal (ITC) or that are Completely In the Canal (CIC) of the ear can wear either ear molds or special plastic tips. The plastic tips replace the standard earpieces on the amplified stethoscope and rests over the hearing aids.
Molds may be made to fit ITC, CIC hearing aids and hearing devices that sit Behind the Ear (BTE). They are custom-made to interface with the type of hearing aid that is being worn and the stethoscope. Medical professionals may also buy headphones to attach to the amplified stethoscope and replace the earpieces. A health care worker with cochlear implants may also use an amplified stethoscope by using a patch cord or input cable to connect the stethoscope directly to the processor of the cochlear implant.