Dentistry and hearing loss
Bekesy audiograms were obtained from a sample of 315 dentists at the 1979 American Dental Association Convention. Questionnaires were completed by each dentist in order to document relevant case history information. The maximum range of responses from the questionnaire was encoded to document all information. In addition, each intensity value at each inflection point was recorded, and used to establish the mean threshold for each frequency represented on the audiogram. Results of the analysis confirmed the complexity of distinguishing noise-induced hearing loss attributable to the dental drill from presbycusis or - sociocusis. Mean audiograms selected from this sample and an individual analysis of the pattern of notches at 3 k, 4 k, and 6 kH2 do not refute the contention that noise output from the high speed dental drill is producing hearing loss. Proposed implications for the practicing dentist, are discussed.