Assessment of occupational noise-related hearing impairment among dental health personnel.

J Occup Health. 2019 Oct 31. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12093. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of the study was to examine hearing thresholds among dental personnel. The secondary aim was to evaluate sound levels among dental equipment that dental personnel are exposed to.

METHODS:

Two hundred forty-four dentists, dental technicians, dental assistants, and dental students participated. Sixty-two participated as a control group. Audiological thresholds for the test groups were compared to the control group. All participants were from Jordan University Hospital. Participants completed a questionnaire in addition to their audiometric testing. Otoscopy, tympanometry, and pure tone audiometry were included in their assessment. Three-factor ANOVA and t tests were utilized to assess the statistical differences of hearing thresholds among the groups and between the two ears. Pearson correlation test was used to assess the effect of age, experience, and duration of exposure on the degree of hearing loss in the test groups for both ears.

RESULTS:

The authors reported statistically significant differences among hearing thresholds between the control group and others. Left hearing thresholds were noted to be significantly poorer in the left versus right ear at 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz in dental assistants. The authors also reported a significant relationship between the degree of hearing impairment among dental assistants and the daily duration of exposure to dental occupational noise, followed by age.

CONCLUSION:

Hearing impairment was higher among dental professionals than the control group and especially among dental assistants and technicians. The authors recommended screening guidelines and adapting hearing protection methods for dental professionals and particularly for dental assistants and technicians.

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