Think of the last time you visited your dentist. He or she most likely had on a full smock, gloves, a face mask and an eye shield. Chances are only their ears were visible. If audiologists had their say they would add one more wardrobe item: hearing protection. Some studies indicate that over time, dentists and hygienists are susceptible to noise induced hearing loss. The combination of noise sources (suction tubes, drills, ultrasonic scalars and motorized hand pieces) add up over the course of a day, a week, a year. Most in the profession do not notice a change in hearing until they have been practicing for about 10 years (controlling for aging effects), and by then it is too late to reverse the damage to the inner ear. The various studies I read agreed on a few points:
1) Have your hearing evaluated before you notice any changes
2) Use hearing protection if you are around motorized equipment throughout the day
3) Maintain equipment: worn out motors are more likely to produce more noise
Another great use of the SensGard Hearing Protectors! They can be easily put on and removed as needed and allow the user to hear conversation when still in place. Think of it like flossing: something small done routinely with tremendous payoff!