Prevalence of Noise Induced Hearing Loss and Other Associated Risk Factors among Saudi Dental Professionals
Author(s): Al Shayea Eman I*
Background: Noise induced hearing loss is the most common among the health problems and occupational impacts faced by dental professionals.
Aims: This study was carried out to obtain an up-to-date assessment of the nature and extent of possible hearing loss among Saudi dental professionals, to identify the associated risk factors that may influence hearing loss, and to compare the prevalence of hearing loss in dental professionals to general population.
Materials and methods: This prospective case-control study was conducted in the College of Dentistry and Medical City at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A total of 136 volunteers were participated in the present study; 79 of the participants were dental staff and 57 were not related to the dental field. Twenty-two dental interns were excluded from the study to ensure matching between the sample group and the general population. Participants in the study were first asked to complete a questionnaire about their age, any ear disease, their specialty, and the duration of exposure to noise. Then they underwent a pure tone audiogram hearing test. Data were analyzed using Fisher’s exact test.
Results: Among the risk factors that may lead to sensorineural hearing loss in dental staff, the age and the number of years in practice were found to be statistically significant factors. No significant differences were found with other demographic factors.
Conclusion: Dental office noise is considered a serious health factor that may cause serious hearing loss for dental professionals and, therefore, should not be underestimated. Age and years of experience in the profession are the main risk factors that may influence hearing loss among the dental professionals.