Why does the tubing on my stethoscope become stiff and rigid after a period of years? The majority of tubing used on Littmann stethoscopes is made of PVC (polyvinylchloride), which becomes hard when exposed for long periods of time to the lipids found in human skin.
Check for Obstructions: If the stethoscope is commonly carried in a pocket, or hasn't routinely been cleaned, it is possible that lint or dirt could be obstructing the sound pathway. If the diaphragm is open, the bell will be closed, preventing sound from coming in through the bell, and vice versa.
Just as we wash hands between each patient, clinicians should disinfect their stethoscopes after every patient assessment with a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe1 to help reduce the risk of patient-to-patient cross contamination. As clinicians wipe their stethoscope with alcohol, they are manually removing residue.Mar 23, 2020