Thinklabs Medical, based in Centennial, Colorado, creates digital stethoscopes. According to founder Clive Smith, the company’s popular One digital stethoscope is considered to be the smallest, most powerful stethoscope in the world. Designed with patented electromagnetic diaphragm technology, which provides exceptional sound quality and more than 100 times the amplification of traditional stethoscopes, the One is well suited to clinicians with hearing loss. The One offers a range of solutions for hearing-impaired users, including many options for addressing different hearing aid styles.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my work has been helping hearing-impaired healthcare providers continue to work productively,” said Smith. “Some have been young students, while others have been older, esteemed specialists in their field. When I designed the One to work with headphones, I was thinking of one particular cardiologist with hearing loss, for whom I’d previously adapted a stethoscope to use with headphones.”
Smith explains that the One stethoscope is so loud that even hearing-impaired clinicians may not need to use anything else to amplify heart, lung and other body sounds. He also points out that those who wear hearing aids usually don’t want the bother of removing them whenever they use their stethoscope. Therefore, Smith designed the One to work with hearing aids, headphones or a streamer.
“Hearing aids are not very good at reproducing bass and you won’t get the direct benefit of the huge power output of the One if it first has to go through hearing aids,” cautions Smith.
To ensure the best-quality sound, Smith suggests first making sure that your hearing aids are programmed for maximum bass. Some clinicians prefer to use One with headphones, which works especially well with open-fit hearing aids.
Smith advises that clinicians choose headphones with good bass response and comfort. He says using a stethoscope with headphones instead of the old-fashioned tube stethoscope is becoming more popular, which means that hearing-impaired care providers needn’t feel conspicuous. “Your patients will think you have the coolest stethoscope around,” says Smith.
The One can also be connected to a wireless transmitter (streamer) that is worn around the neck and has a wireless connection to a user’s hearing aids. Such streamers are offered by most hearing aid companies. Cables are included with the One for streamer connections. A Bluetooth transmitter can also be connected to transmit from the One to the streamer, but Smith recommends a direct cable connection for best sound and simplicity.
Smith points out that Thinklabs offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives hearing-impaired customers ample time to work with their audiologist and try the One in a clinical setting. If they aren’t completely satisfied, they can send the stethoscope back for a full refund. He notes that the return rate is less than one percent.
For hearing-impaired clinicians looking for more information about the One digital stethoscope, Thinklabs addresses many questions related to users with hearing loss on the Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids pages of its website, www.thinklabs.com.