Dentists should no longer be concerned just with teeth. They need to pay closer attention to their own hearing, as well. They are among the professional groups at risk of suffering noise-induced hearing loss in their workplace.
The noise levels in a dental clinic are uneven and often quite low. But at times, the noise can be extremely high. Some dental drills make so much noise, above 100dB, that they exceed recommended maximum levels. Old drills and dental instruments are most likely to be too noisy.
Preventing hearing loss in the dental clinic
Noise-induced hearing loss cannot be regenerated. Prevention is the only cure. Dentists are strongly advised to listen to the following advice on how to prevent hearing damage at work:
- Keep the greatest possible distance to your patient while using noisy instruments, so your ears are as far away from the source of the noise, as possible.
- Maintain and oil your dental instruments to prevent unnecessarily loud noise.
- Protect your hearing with earplugs or other hearing protection when using the loud instruments.
Source: The Academy of Dental Therapeutics and Stomatology (ADTS), 2008