How Often Should You Be Replacing Your Stethoscope?

You'll hear different answers to this question depending on where you ask. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your stethoscope every 2 years, but as one user on allnurses.com forum so eloquently puts it, "It would be in a company's interest to have us all buying new equipment every 2 years."

This is a pretty valid point, which brings us to question...

How to know when it's time to replace your stethoscope

Many medical professionals will go years or even decades before replacing their stethoscope. Check out medical forums and discussion threads on the topic and you'll find a lot of people saying that you don't need to replace your stethoscope until it's actually broken.

Despite this advice, it's probably not a good idea to wait too long to replace your stethoscope. Natural wear and tear inevitably will occur with a stethoscope that is constantly in use and while it may be tempting to hold onto your beloved stethoscope for as long as possible, you may not even notice the sound quality deteriorating over time. 

Extending the life of your stethoscope

With proper maintenance and care, your stethoscope can last you far longer than the manufacturer's recommendation. Here are some of the most common signs of stethoscope degradation and the steps you can take to avoid them!

 

 

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Whether you're still in school or a longtime practicing clinician, it's important to do proper research when buying a new stethoscope. Make sure you choose a manufacturer that stands behind the quality of their products by offering a warranty and/or replacement parts when you need them.

Littmann is the usual go-to manufacturer for stethoscopes but you may find that other brands such as ERKA offer more in terms of durability and value, since their products are made with better quality materials and every model comes with its own carrying case.