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Mobile app helps dentists measure sound levels in the office

February 09, 2017 Dentists have a new way to help reduce the chance of occupational noise-induced hearing loss with an app released Jan. 17 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The Sound Level Meter App measures sound levels in the workplace and provides a readout of the sound level using a phone's built-in microphone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Although noise exposure in the dental office is typically intermittent, dental professionals have been shown to be at risk of hearing loss, as the noise generated by equipment like handpicks or ultrasonic scalers can approach established exposure limits, according to the October 2016 issue of the ADA Professional Product Review. The issue features a qualitative review of four hearing protection devices, which can help dental professionals reduce the harmful effects of office noise. To read the PPR article, visit ADA.org/PPR.

The recently released mobile app aims to help raise awareness about a worker's environment and make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their hearing, according to the CDC. The app reports important metrics related to proper occupational noise measurements and offers basic information on noise and hearing loss prevention, among other features.

To download or learn more about the Sound Level Meter App, visit CDC.gov/niosh.