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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Equipment and Orthopedics > Stethoscope

Stethoscope Cost

How Much Does a Stethoscope Cost?

low costAcoustic: $5-$160average costDigital: $150-$1,000+
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Stethoscopes are used to amplify sounds within the chest, including the heart beat and breath sounds. Stethoscopes[1] can be useful for patients with chronic conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, or those who have a heart condition.

Typical costs:

  • Stethoscopes can start at $5 but can run over $1,000, depending upon the features of the device. Most insurance plans will not cover the cost of a stethoscope.
  • Acoustic stethoscopes, which allow the user to hear inside the chest wall but do not amplify the sound, cost between $5 and $160. The Omron Sprague Rappaport stethoscope costs about $20. This stethoscope was named a best buy by For Us Docs[2] magazine.
  • The Littmann Cardiology III[3] costs $160. It features two patented dials on the chest piece, which allow the user to switch between high frequency and low frequency sounds. The chest piece of the stethoscope is two-sided, larger on one side for adults and smaller on the other for children.
  • Digital stethoscopes amplify sounds beneath the chest wall and cut down on ambient noise, so heart conditions or lung congestion can be easier to diagnose. Digital stethoscopes cost between $150 and more than $1,000. The Littman Electronic Stethoscope Model 3100[4] costs about $350. This stethoscope amplifies sound up to 24 times and reduces 85 percent of background noise. In addition, the stethoscope's digital display reports the patient's heart rate and the battery life remaining for the stethoscope.
  • Some stethoscopes are available for purchase as part of a kit, which can include a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure cuff. These kits can range from $10 to $130. The American Diagnostic Corporation offers a kit that contains a single cuff sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope for about $50.
Related articles: Heart Rate Monitor, Thermometer, Blood Pressure Monitor, Glucose Meter, First Aid Kits

What should be included:
  • An acoustic stethoscope purchase will include the stethoscope, which includes the packing material, tubing, chest piece and ear tips. Some stethoscopes also include an extra set of ear tips and chest pieces of different sizes.
  • Digital stethoscopes will include the stethoscope, which should include the packaging, tubing, a chest piece, a digital display and soft ear tips. Some digital stethoscopes also include extra ear tips, disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries.
Additional costs:
  • The ear tips on the stethoscope may need to be replaced up to every month, depending on how frequently the stethoscope is used. Ear tips can cost between $.60 and $20, depending upon the material. More expensive tips are made of gel and can be more comfortable for use.
  • Digital stethoscopes require batteries, either disposable or rechargeable. These range between $2.50 and $10 for a four-pack, depending upon the brand.
Shopping for a stethoscope:
  • :
  • Acoustic stethoscopes can be purchased at a local pharmacy, medical supplier or online. A prescription is not required. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration[5] maintains a list of tips for people purchasing medical devices online, such as asking the supplier if the device is FDA-approved.
  • Most people purchasing a stethoscope will prefer an acoustic stethoscope for home use. For Us Docs, a consumer magazine for physicians, recently published a review of twelve popular acoustic stethoscopes. The review[6] found that Littman Cardiology III stethoscope to offer the best performance.
  • Digital stethoscopes can be purchased online or through a medical supply retailer. Because most patients will not need a digital stethoscope for home use, talk to a trusted health care professional before making a purchase.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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