Periodontist-Designed Device Helps Dentists Protect Patients Hearing

The American Dental Association recommends dental professionals use hearing protection while using dental equipment because numerous published studies have shown that dental professionals suffer from poorer hearing than non-noise exposed medical professionals. This exposure to high frequency equipment noise is unavoidable for dental professionals, and over a period of years this exposure can gradually damage the hair cells in the inner ear, which can produce tinnitus and hearing loss.

One of our first questions was how can we reduce the chronic annoyance of the dental hand piece, suction, and laboratory sounds, without blocking our communication with patients and staff? said Dr. Sam Shamardi, periodontist and founder of Dental Innovations, a company established to bring clinical and technological solutions to the dental environment. We sought to provide a solution to this serious, yet unaddressed occupational hazard. We have too many colleagues who have acquired hearing loss over years of practice, and wanted to prevent that from happening.

Electronic Earplugs

The DI-15 earplugs are "active" earplugs powered by small batteries, which means that they restore soft sounds that are lost when its eartips seal off the ear canals, and automatically activate and attenuate when protection is needed. These high-fidelity earplugs contain high-definition transducers: balanced-armature drivers, high-sensitivity microphones, and advanced adaptive compression signal processing. The bandwidth (40 Hz - 16 kHz) is unprecedented, says the company, and the sound quality exceeds that of all known electronic earplugs and all modern digital hearing devices.

Advanced circuitry in DI-15 electronic earplugs automatically changes output levels as sound input levels change, which means that as environmental sound becomes unsafe, the earplugs automatically lower sound to safer levels. They then provide natural hearing when sound levels are safe and theres no need to remove the earplugs to hear clearly.

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