Dentists should no longer be concerned only with teeth—they need to pay closer attention to their own hearing too—because they are among the professional groups at risk of suffering noise-induced hearing loss in the 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.
Noise-induced hearing loss cannot be regenerated; prevention is the only cure.
Dentists are advised to consider 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 of the recommendations: The Academy of Dental Therapeutics and Stomatology (ADTS), 2008