OSHA & HEARING LOSS ISSUES IN THE DENTAL OFFICE
1.1 OSHA & HEARING LOSS ISSUES
IT’S COMING FOR THE DENTAL OFFICE
Rebecca K. Horton, RDA
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Table of Contents
Just because you don’t have an apparent hearing loss issues at the moment does not mean that all is well. Protection with custom-fitted ear plugs or THE ONE, specifically designed for dentists is recommended heartily. Such a simple solution to a big problem.
In the dental profession we are accustomed to scientific terms, so this time I’m going to give it to you in scientific terms:
- Environmental noise-induced hearing impairment and Tinnitus is probably the most prevalent noise health effect according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- This main organ of hearing is the cochlea and is part of your inner ear. Cochlear Damage means that all or part of your inner ear has been hurt. Damage to the cochlea typically causes permanent hearing loss. This is called sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).
- A Mixed Hearing Loss occurs when SHL and Conductive Hearing Loss are present.
- Most dentists will practice about 35 years, with an average of 4 days per week, 50 weeks a year. 56,000 hours of exposure to dB above the OSHA limit of 86 dB is enough to make a dentist (and his staff) suffer serious hearing loss. Why wait til we’re mandated?
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss causes the fine hairs that line the canal to go away. Baldness of the ear canal, if you will. Once human hair cells have died, they cannot be regenerated. NOT REVERSIBLE. The cochlea is a snail-shaped, fluid-filled structure in the inner ear. Inside the cochlea is another structure called the organ of Corti. Hair cells are located on the basilar membrane of the cochlea. The cilia (the hair) of the hair cells make contact with another membrane called the tectorial membrane.
- Intermittent and continuous noise from high speed evacuation systems, drills, compressed air, amalgamators (yes, some of us still use amalgam), ultrasonic cleaners, model trimmers, vacuum pumps, handpiece oiling systems, autoclave release, phones, radio, tv, kids, parents, staff, air conditioning units, and toilet flushes contribute to Sensorineural Hearing Loss issues. A loss that occurs when these types of sound cause damage to the cochlea or the nerve pathways from the inner ear. Every day. If you add in the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, chemicals, medications and Auditory Neuropathy you have a prescription for heartbreaking hearing loss issues.
Contact and let the experts with years of experience help you before it’s too late.
OSHA will catch up to us soon enough.
A word to the wise should be sufficient.