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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 85  |  Page : 347--354

Prevalence of tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss in dentists

1 Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Allied Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
2 Department of Operative Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Andrew B John
1200N Stonewall Ave #3080, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.195809

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Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate noise levels in dental offices and to estimate the risk and prevalence of tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in practicing dentists. Materials and Methods: First, measures were collected of sound pressure levels produced by dental handpieces and dental suction in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) College of Dentistry. Second, a survey was distributed to members of the Oklahoma Dental Association (ODA). Results: Measurements made in the dental operatory revealed dangerous levels when high-volume suction was in use alone and in conjunction with a dental handpiece. Questionnaire results suggested that practicing dentists report sensorineural hearing loss at a rate broadly in line with national averages. However, dentists reported a higher prevalence of tinnitus symptoms than would be expected based on sample demographics. Conclusion: Results from sound level measurements and questionnaire responses indicate that dentists are a population that could be placing their hearing health at risk in a typical daily work environment.


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