Dentists suffer long-term hearing problems in high frequencies

Working conditions

Carlos Gejo and Sylvester Feijoo
Carlos Gejo and Sylvester Feijoo (Photo: Otometrics).

Dental professionals suffer long-term hearing problems, according to a thesis sponsored by Otometrics on "Hearing loss in dentists" , presented by 35-year-old Carlos Gejo Limia for his degree in Audiology at the Saúde De Coimbra Higher School of Technology (ESTeSC) in Portugal.

Tutored in this end-of-degree work by lecturer Carla Matos Silva, the author focused on an exhaustive analysis of the hearing of 19 dentists chosen because they are at the start of their careers, divided into age ranges of five, ten, and fifteen years, respectively. Gejo used Otometrics technology in carrying out his study.

The student oriented his efforts on professionals exposed constantly, or very frequently, to the noise of turbines and saliva aspirators as their regular work tools. Following statistical analysis of each case, his study conclusions reveal that, from the outset, prior anamnesis shows dentists are not properly informed that exercising their profession can affect their hearing sense, this leading to hearing loss over the years. Although Gejo did not find actual hearing loss, he did detect hearing changes in the ear most exposed in several of the study's subjects. There were signs that point to future problems in the characteristic frequencies involved in hearing loss due to noise, those between 4,000 and 6,000 Hz, a situation confirmed statistically in otoemissions at 4,000 Hz.

"The tests showed that some of these dentists began to have problems in background comprehension with some slight sensation of low discrimination in noise, typical of high-frequency hearing loss," explained the student. To prevent loss, Gejo Limia suggests implementing made-to-measure hearing protection methods, such as the use of filters in the ear, which can attenuate high frequencies, those that bring the risks in these cases. He also recommends a working practice of keeping a required distance when handling turbines. The thesis obtained 17 out of a possible 20 points. The student has announced his intention to continue with this research.

Source: Audioenportada