Hearing Loss From Long-Term Exposure to Dental Handpiece Noise
A study was conducted on those that have had long-term exposure to the sounds of high-speed dental handpieces. The individuals included in the study were dental clinicians, dental professionals, and dental students.
The research concluded that those that regularly utilize high-speed dental handpieces had worse levels of hearing than those that did not use these types of handpieces. It is a known fact that about 15% of all Americans that are aged 20-69 have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss as a result of work-related loud noise exposure. One area of particular interest was the hearing loss that may be experienced by those in the dental industry that work with high-speed dental handpieces on a regular basis.
As a result of this interest, the sound intensities of these devices was measured. The measurements concluded that the sound intensities were strong enough to provoke hearing damage and even other types of long-term physiological complications.
Those in the dental industry that were confirmed to have suffered from hearing loss as a result of exposure to the sound intensities of high-speed dental handpieces experienced varying degrees of hearing loss. The loss was found to be dependent upon the overall intensity of the sound produced, as well as the amount of time or duration in which the dental practitioner was exposed to the sounds.
If you are a dental professional that uses high-speed dental handpieces on a regular basis, it is important that you take safety measures to protect your hearing. Ears are different in their overall susceptibility to sound-induced damage.
While one may be handle to handle the noise without a detrimental impact to the hearing, others may be exceptionally sensitive to noise and may experience immediate hearing damage and loss.
If you are a dental practitioner, there are several recommendations available from the American Dental Association that you are encouraged to follow to prevent hearing loss as a result of long-term high-speed dental handpiece exposure. The following outlines these measures:
- The dental handpieces that you use should be regularly maintained to ensure that the noise level does not go high enough to harm your hearing.
- You may perform several steps within your practice to reduce the noise level of your dental instruments. These include soundproofing the structure or certain rooms, adding acoustical ceilings, using baffle drapes, installing resilient floors, and careful placement of the noise-making dental equipment that you use.
- It is advised that you use ear plugs when using your dental equipment to ensure that your ears are protected from long-term noise exposure.
- Replace your high-speed dental handpieces on a regular basis.
- Rotate staff member tasks so that one person is not left to handle all of the work associated with loud dental equipment.
Hughes Dental knows and understands the importance of optimal-functioning high-speed dental handpieces. We troubleshoot and perform comprehensive maintenance on all types of dental handpieces.