Objective: To assess the effect of sound produced in a dental clinic on the hearing of dentists in a dental school. Materials and Methods: Thirty-two dentists were evaluated for changes in their hearing thresholds at the Speech and Audiology Department, Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal, India. Middle Ear Analyser (MEA), Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) and Oto-Acoustic Emission (OAE) were used to evaluate changes in the hearing thresholds. Results: There was a change in distortion product (DP) amplitude (temporary shift) in all frequencies. Statistically significant changes were found in the 6 kHz and 4 kHz ranges in the left ear and 6 kHz in the right ear. There was a larger DP shift in the left ear than in the right ear. A comparison of the hearing thresholds of males and females showed a significant difference of 3 kHz in the left ear, where males had a higher hearing loss. Conclusion: There were shifts of hearing threshold at 6 kHz and 4 kHz. The danger to hearing from dental clinic working environment in a dental school cannot be underestimated.
Keywords: dentists, hearing loss, India, noise-induced hearing loss