When using the 3M™ Littmann® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3100 and Model 3200, there are several techniques that are important to consider that can substantially improve your auscultation experience.
The sound sensor, where all sound acquisition occurs, is quite small and located in the very center of the chestpiece (for demonstration purposes, you can peel off the diaphragm and look for the indentation under the white sticker). The area around the sound sensor does not contribute to sound acquisition. Therefore, it is important to focus the point of contact with the patient on the very center of the chestpiece.
Only light contact is necessary with the Littmann electronic stethoscopes. This includes both the handling of the stethoscope and the contact on the patient. Excessive pressure on the patient may result in artifact sounds.
Contact with the patient must remain steady and consistent for optimal sound quality. Movement with the chestpiece will induce frictional noise. It is a best practice to start your auscultation exam at a lower amplification level. Then, if you are trying to listen to a difficult to hear sound, adjust the amplification upward. Using the amplification on an as needed basis will help reduce distracting noises during your exam.
Finally, it is important to recognize the difference in technique between non-electronic stethoscopes and the Littmann electronic stethoscopes. Holding the Littmann electronic stethoscopes lightly, making light contact with the patient, focusing the point of contact on the center of the chestpiece, and remaining steady will assure the highest sound quality auscultation experience.