Why are some patients difficult to hear?

Body sounds vary from patient to patient and may be difficult to hear for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Use the appropriate pressure on the One against the skin. For more information on stethoscope pressure, click here.
  • Sounds vary depending on the location on the body. Make sure you are using the appropriate filter and volume for the body part to which you are listening.
  • Obese patients and some older patients can experience attenuated heart sounds. Turn the stethoscope volume up.
  • Chest hair and certain items of clothing (knitted or thick garments) can create unwanted space between the diaphragm and the chest. Make sure to place the stethoscope directly against the skin where possible.
  • Headphone seal and quality are essential factors. For more information on recommended headphones click here.

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