What is the best solution for using a stethoscope with hearing aids?

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Sara nagel
Sara Nagel, AuD - Audiologist in Pearland
10 January 2017 - 1597 Views

I am located in Houston, home of the world's largest medical center, and have a fair number of patients who are medical professionals.  The best solution that has worked to date has been the Think Labs Amplified Stethoscope, coupled to Bose over-the-ear headphones that are large enough to wear over hearing aids.  This eliminates the need for the medical professional to remove their hearing aids in order to use the stethoscope.  My patients who use it report best sound quality compared to other amplified stethoscopes, with no (curcuit?) static noise which interferes with sounds of auscultation.  Another nice feature of the Think Labs Stethoscope is that it can also be paired with an iPhone or iPad and send a visual recording of the ausculation sounds for later review by the medical professional.  It is available online or via Oaktree Products.  

Check out this video of one my patients describing her experience with the Think Labs Stethoscope.

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Member Amy Swain - 8 months ago
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Good information. Thanks for sharing.

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Teacher Matthew Pearson - 8 months ago
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Great info thanks!

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Kristen Armstrong, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Cedar Park
10 January 2017 - 1583 Views

It depends on the style and brand of hearing aids.  

If you are wearing in the ear hearing aids, there are cups that can be attached to the stethescope that cover the hearing aid rather than pushing in on it.  

If you are wearing a hearing aid that has a t-coil or can communicate wirelessly with one of the manufacturers accessories that has an audio input option (ie. Widex Uni-Dex, Phonak ComPilot or ComPilot II, Oticon Streamer or Streamer Pro, etc), then a Think Labs stethescope is the best answer.  Think labs stethescope has an audio jack that you can plug the manufacturer accessory or a T-coil neck loop into and the sound will stream wirelessly into the hearing aids.

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Kellie
Kellie Phillips - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Karns City
10 January 2017 - 1585 Views
There are 2 important considerations when trying to find the right stethoscope and hearing aid interface solution. One is the individuals level of hearing loss. And the other is the hearing aid they currently use. Cic for example find too much pressure against the hearing aid itself. Many remove their aid and use a amplified stethoscope. In the ear same thing. They remove the aid same as Cic wearers. Bte those wearers have more of a significant loss so to me the best option have a behind the ear to use a full power aid and it will interface better with a stethoscope. For example Bte wearer can use a silhouette that provides an induction signal for hearing aid telecoil. Another option is to use a direct audio input cable to connect the hearing aid and audio boot to the output of a electronic stethoscope. I could go on and on but hopefully this information is helpful. For education purposes.
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Lee Weissman, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Novato
10 June 2017 - 1012 Views

I have fit two patients with Resound Linx2 hearing aids using the Multi-Mic accessory. Both of these patients already had amplified stethoscopes that used headphones. We simply patched the audio output from the amplifier into the Multi-Mic. They then velcroed the Multi-Mic to the amplifier unit for convenience and just enable the Multi-Mic via buttons on the hearing aids. Both patients are nurses and love the convenience. One comment was that the heart sounds are a bit different as they don't get the same low frequency content but they were able to adjust to utilizing the new sound.

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Highland
11 January 2017 - 1560 Views

There are many great answers so far from Audiologists who talk about the style of your hearing aids and ask about what type of sounds you are listening for through the stethoscope, as that will affect the recommendation.  To help you obtain some more information, there is a great blog that is dedicated to Amplified Stethoscope at Oaktree Products: https://www.oaktreeproducts.com/amp-steth-solutions  This may help you and your Audiologist find the right solution for your hearing needs, your listening needs, and your hearing devices. 

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Veronica
Veronica Heide, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Madison
11 January 2017 - 1565 Views

Questions I would ask before making a recommendation are: "Is this sound audible without amplification to the patient's ears?"  Will they need amplification in this frequency range?  Will they benefit from including visual information." The sound of a heartbeat through a stethoscope is between 20-180 Hz.  I would test the hearing of your patient at 125 Hz to see where their threshold lies and that will help determine which options will work well (auditory, visual, amplified). Keep in mind that the frequency response of most hearing aids is very limited in the low frequencies and you may need to have the patienswitch to the "Music" setting to extend the low frequency range of the hearing instruments to make these low frequency sounds more audible through amplification systems and their accessories.  The ThinkLabs stethoscope is a wonderful tool and I always recommend it when appropriate.  I also recommend several of the apps that allow health practitioners and their patients to visually display the cardiac and respiratory auscultation.  New technology is available that combines a stethoscope with an electrocardiogram so practitioners can listen and watch heart rhythm simultaneously. 

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Duane Smelser, HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Portland
10 January 2017 - 1598 Views

You'll need a little rubber piece that attaches to the stethascope tube.  Please that little boot over the end of the mold/dome/speaker until it's completely sealed.  Then listen.  What do you hear? Enjoy the sounds. It's kinda fun. :-)

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