Hopkins students design noise-canceling dental device

Photo credit: Anna Shvets

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Hub, the online news site of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, reported that engineering students developed a prototype of a noise-canceling device for patients having dental work done. The idea for the device came from a Florida dentist, Jordan Rigsby, who had never realized how loud the drill is for the patient until he required dental work. Rigsby came up with a prototype and asked the university’s senior design program to develop the idea further.

The students presented a model device on May 1. The device is just like noise-canceling headphones, producing an “anti-noise” wave that is opposite of the unwanted noise, and cancels it out. But unlike noise-canceling headphones, the noise canceling is done via a dental plate that dampens the vibrations from inside the patient’s mouth.

I’ve had enough dental work done over the years to know exactly what Rigsby noticed. I hope this device is commercialized and becomes widely used in the future.

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