Occupational noise is unavoidably produced from dental equipment, building facilities, and human voices in the dental environment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of occupational noise exposure on the dental professionals' health condition. The psychoacoustics approach noise exposure assessment followed by the health risk assessment was carried on at the paediatric dentistry clinic and the dental laboratory in the Prince Philip Dental Hospital of Hong Kong. The A-weighted equivalent sound level, total loudness, and sharpness values were statistically significantly higher for the noise at the laboratory than that at the clinic. The degree of perceived influences and sharpness of noise were found to have the impacts on the dental professionals' working performance and health. Moreover, the risk of having a bad hearing state would a have 26% and 31% higher chance for a unit increment of the short-term and long-term impact scores, respectively. The dental professionals with the service length more than 10 years and the daily working hours of more than eight showed the highest risk to their hearing state. The worse the hearing state was, the worse the health state was found for the dental professionals. Also, the risk of dissatisfaction would be increased by 4.41 and 1.22 times for those who worked at the laboratory and a unit increment of the long-term impact score. The constructed health risk mode with the scientific and statistical evidence is hence important for the future noise management of environmental improvement.
Keywords: health risk assessment; health risk model; noise exposure assessment; noise in dental environment; psychoacoustics approach.