It is a known fact that millions of individuals around the world are exposed to excessive noise levels in the workplace. In some instances, these noise levels do not result in hazardous effects on the hearing; however, there are numerous instances in which the noise levels are considered to be hazardous to the auditory system of the body. Dental practitioners are exposed to various noises within their work environment. The most common noises stem from inappropriately maintained dental handpieces. The source of the noises that may prove to be detrimental to the hearing are those that stem from turbines that are high-frequency and the ultrasonic-based dental scalers. In this brief guide, we will expound on the subject of unnecessary noises from dental handpieces.
What is a Detrimental Noise?
In order to understand which noises are detrimental to the auditory system of the body, we must first provide a definition of such a noise. Generally speaking, a “noise” is any type of unwanted sound from any type of device, product, or factor within an environment. A “detrimental noise” is a sound that creates acoustic-based energy that has the ability to adversely impact the psychological and/or physiological health/well-being of a person. Dental practitioners that work with high-frequency dental handpieces that are not properly maintained are exposed to noises that are high in intensity, high in frequency, and high in consistency. Over time, the noises that are emitted from inappropriately maintained dental handpieces have the capability of resulting in hearing complications including tinnitus and hearing loss.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Within the Dental Practice
The organization known as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine describes occupational-based hearing loss within the dental practice as a type of loss of hearing that slowly develops over a relatively long period as a direct result of being in proximity to noises that are considered to be either or both “continuous” and “intermittent”. This hearing loss is officially designated as “occupational noise-induced hearing loss”. It is considered to be a disabling condition once it starts to negatively impact the practitioner on a daily basis. As a dental practitioner, it is imperative to ensure regular maintenance of dental handpieces to avoid unnecessary noises that could result in disability. Examples of symptoms that may originate once a hearing disability becomes evident includes, but is not at all limited to, the following:
- Degradation of the Intelligibility of Speech
- Communication Difficulties
- Social Problems
- The Development of Tinnitus
- The Onset of Physical and Physiological Stress
- Physical Stress
Dental Handpiece Maintenance a Must
As a dental practitioner, it is imperative to ensure that you have your dental handpieces regularly maintained. This is especially true if you have high-speed devices. Did you know that the inferior cheap bearings that many shops import were not manufactured to the standards that we at Hughes require and can be as much as 5 decibels louder? Don’t settle for less.
Here at Hughes Dental, we specialize in dental handpiece maintenance, repair, and other services that are similar in nature. We also offer a wide variety of products – such as evacuation cleansing agents, curing lights, motor attachments, lubrication, replacement bulbs, burs, and quick connect couplers.