Dentists are very concerned about their sense of sight, smell, and touch because they actively need it to do their work. They routinely use protective devices to protect their eyes, nose, and hands while working. However, very few dentists have dental hearing protection, and that can hurt them in the future.
High-Pitched Sounds are Always Present
The dental office may seem quiet, but inside the treatment room, it is a different story. Dentists and dental hygienists work with drills, ultrasonic scalers and other high-speed handpieces all the time. It gets to the point that they do not even notice it any more. However, these handpieces generate noise levels of up to 100 decibels. This is the same as working next to a gas lawn mower eight hours a day.
It Can Damage Your Hearing
Noise levels of 85 decibels over a long period can lead to permanent hearing loss. In addition, many dentists develop a condition called tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears.
We all experience some ringing in the ears for up to 30 seconds, usually right after an explosion, walking by an active construction site, or any loud noise. However, regular exposure to high noise levels can lead to acute tinnitus that lasts for days or even weeks. It is easy to imagine how maddening constant ringing in the ears can be.
There is an Easy Solution
It is easy enough to protect your hearing. Dental hearing protection devices designed for dentists and dental hygienists are readily available, just like gloves, masks, and eye shields. They do not block out ordinary noises completely, so they are convenient to use. They reduce the noise level just enough to prevent hearing damage.
Most dental professionals do not make it a habit to protect their hearing. Even dental schools do not require it. However, it only takes a little common sense to understand that dental hearing protection is both necessary and smart.