Overview of Auscultation

Medical professionals rely on auscultation to routinely examine the status of the circulatory, respiratory, and/or gastrointestinal systems. Auscultation is defined as listening to internal sounds of the body and represents an essential component in the delivery of health care services. The procedure is accomplished through the use of a stethoscope, a medical device specifically designed to enable physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to detect and analyze heart, lung, and/or bowel sounds for purposes of differential diagnosis. The art of auscultation not only requires a level of clinical skill, but also assumes the presence of optimal listening conditions that would enable the practitioner to hear what needs to be heard.


Auscultation vs Audiometric Frequency Needs

For medical professionals with hearing loss, the routine use of traditional stethoscopes inherently creates several challenges. Physicians or nurses with hearing loss may experience difficulty hearing certain internal body sounds since the presence of a hearing loss may prohibit the ability to actually hear necessary heart, lung, and/or bowel sounds for differential diagnosis. While amplified stethoscopes designed to compensate for hearing loss are commercially available, medical professionals who are current users of amplification are faced with additional challenges that may preclude the successful use of amplified stethoscopes in conjunction with hearing instrumentation.


stethomate tips

Do Stethomate Tips Work?

Adaptors for wearers of ITCs or CICs are available (called stethomate tips). These basically couple the non-amplified stethoscope to the hearing aid microphone while providing some space between them to help prevent feedback. The success rate of these products has hovered around 30%. The most common reasons cited for failure are pain (they push too hard on the hearing instrument) and/or the user has difficulty lining up the sound port with the opening of the stethomate. This is important to know since realistic expectations must be set up with the patient prior to trying out various options.  

Stethomate tips can also be used with amplified stethoscopes as long as the stethoscope earpieces can be removed and replaced with the stethomate tips.