Self-reported occupational visual and hearing impairment among dental professionals in Nigeria
Objective: To determine the prevalence of occupational visual and hearing impairment among dental professionals in Edo State, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire based cross-sectional survey of dental surgeons, dental surgery assistants (DSA), dental therapists and dental technologists was conducted in four government owned dental centers in Edo state which included: University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Specialist Hospital, Benin City, Irrua specialist hospital and General hospital, Fugar. Results: The response rate was 78.1%. Majority (77.3%) of the respondents were dentists, others were dental nurses (10.7%), dental technologists (9.3%) and dental therapists (2.7%). The prevalence of hearing impairment was 4.0% while visual impairment was 12.0%. The prevalence of hearing impairment was higher among dental technologists, however this was not statistically significant (P>0.05).The regular use of safety practices among the dental professionals was low ranging from12.0% to 50.7%. Conclusion: Visual impairment was more common than hearing impairment among dental professionals. Noise level and hazards to the eyes in dental clinic should be evaluated by occupational health and safety advisors with a view of making useful recommendation to reduce their adverse impact on dental professionals. Further investigations using objective auditory and visual assessment tools are also recommended.
Keywords: Occupational health, visual impairment, hearing impairment, dental professionals, health hazards