Saf Health Work.  2011 Dec;2(4):348-354.

Noise Exposure Assessment in a Dental School

Affiliations
  • 1Occupational Health Unit, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand. thicho@hotmail.com
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.
  • 3Dental Hospital, Faculty of Dentistry, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This cross-sectional study was performed in the Dental School of Prince of Songkla University to ascertain noise exposure of dentists, dental assistants, and laboratory technicians. A noise spectral analysis was taken to illustrate the spectra of dental devices.
METHODS
A noise evaluation was performed to measure the noise level at dental clinics and one dental laboratory from May to December 2010. Noise spectral data of dental devices were taken during dental practices at the dental services clinic and at the dental laboratory. A noise dosimeter was set following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration criteria and then attached to the subjects' collar to record personal noise dose exposure during working periods.
RESULTS
The peaks of the noise spectrum of dental instruments were at 1,000, 4,000, and 8,000 Hz which depended on the type of instrument. The differences in working areas and job positions had an influence on the level of noise exposure (p < 0.01). Noise measurement in the personal hearing zone found that the laboratory technicians were exposed to the highest impulsive noise levels (137.1 dBC). The dentists and dental assistants who worked at a pedodontic clinic had the highest percent noise dose (4.60 +/- 3.59%). In the working areas, the 8-hour time-weighted average of noise levels ranged between 49.7-58.1 dBA while the noisiest working area was the dental laboratory.
CONCLUSION
Dental personnel are exposed to noise intensities lower than occupational exposure limits. Therefore, these dental personnel may not experience a noise-induced hearing loss.

Keyword

Noise-induced hearing loss; Noise; Dental practice; Dental school; Dental instruments
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