A new noise-cancelling prototype may help patients be more at ease while undergoing dental procedures that involve drill or suction sounds, according to inventors at King's College London's Dental Institute and several other schools.
Many people who avoid the dentist or suffer from dental anxiety could potentially benefit from the elimination of uncomfortable noises that exacerbate their fears during dental procedures.
The developers said that the device is similar to noise-cancelling headphones, but is capable of drowning out the unique high pitch sound of dental drills.
When the tool becomes available to dental practitioners, patients will be able to bring their own MP3 players or cell phones to their appointments and plug them into the device. This will allow them to listen to their choice of music while blocking out the sound of equipment.
However, the patient will still be able to hear the dentist and hygentists speaking to them while filtering out unwanted noises.
The invention contains a microphone and a chip that analyze incoming sound waves and produce an inverted wave to cancel out any sounds that may make patients uncomfortable.
Researchers said they believe their prototype may entice people who have avoided the dentist to return for more relaxing visits.
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