Purpose: In addition to sounds from dental equipment, pediatric dentists are exposed to noise produced by precooperative and/or noncooperative children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the daily personal noise exposure of a pediatric dentistry resident while treating children in a teaching clinic to determine both comprehensive noise doses and peak noise occurrences as well as to assess the risk for noise-induced hearing loss.
Methods: A noise dosimeter (Noise-Pro DLX) was used to measure the total personal noise exposure dose using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hearing Conservation Amendment criteria and the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) occupational noise exposure revised criteria. Comprehensive noise doses for 31 days were obtained for a single resident.
Results: OSHA and NIOSH-allowable limits were not exceeded during any one day in the study period. Noise levels during crying episodes, however, were higher than the reported noise levels of dental instruments and reached maximum levels of 112.9 dBA.
Conclusions: Noise levels to which the pediatric dental resident was exposed fell below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's damage-risk thresholds for noise-induced hearing loss.