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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 103  |  Page : 223--231

The effect of noise exposure on the vestibular systems of dental technicians

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

Correspondence Address:
Safa Alqudah
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_51_19

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Background: Noise exposure is the primary cause of acquired hearing loss in several occupational settings, including dental laboratories and clinics. However, the impact of noise exposure on the vestibular system is not as well researched. Purpose: To investigate the nature of vestibular damage caused by working in dental laboratories and clinics with high levels of noise exposure due to loud dental equipment. Research Design: A descriptive, case study design was used to evaluate the vestibular function of dental technicians. Study Sample: Out of 30 dental technicians, 5 males who had been working for several years in dental settings were selected based on their reports of severe symptoms of imbalance. Data Collection: Audiologic evaluations were conducted in the vestibular unit of the Doctor Tarek Khrais Center in Amman, Jordan, for one year. Each subject underwent several hearing tests, which included otoscopic examination, pure tone audiometry (PTA), impedance measurements, and speech testing. Assessment of vestibular function was then conducted using a diagnostic test battery which included electrocochleography, ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (oVEMP), cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMP), positional testing using the Thomas Richard-Vitton (TRV) chair, and standing stability testing. Results: All test subjects experienced some form of vestibular impairment, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), endolymphatic hydrops (Meniere disease), or a combination of both. Three out of five cases displayed little or no hearing loss, indicating that vestibular function is more at risk than hearing acuity to continuous noise exposure in dental settings. Conclusions: Exposure to loud noise in dental laboratories severely impacts the functioning of the vestibular system of the inner ear more than the cochlea. The main clinical implication of this study is that regular vestibular assessments are a necessity for dental technicians.


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