Gadget could ease terror of dentist's drill
Researchers have created a device that not only filters out the sound of the dentist's drill, but allows people to listen to their own music.
Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM
TRIP TO THE DENTIST: Patients can still hear the dentist talking to them because the device locks on to the sound waves, removing them even if the pitch changes as it bores into teeth. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
Patients terrified by the whirring sound of the dentist's drill could benefit from a new gadget that cancels it out, according to researchers at King's College London.
The group said they had come up with a device which not only filters out the sound but allows people to listen to their own music too.
The gadget contains a microphone and a chip which analyzes the incoming sound wave and then produces an inverted wave to cancel out the unwanted noise.
Patients hook up their MP3 player to the device, then plug their headphones into the gadget.
They can still hear the dentist talking to them, as the device locks on to the sound waves, removing them even if the pitch changes as it bores into teeth.
"Many people put off going to the dentist because of anxiety associated with the noise of the dentist's drill," said Professor Brian Millar.
"But this device has the potential to make fear of the drill a thing of the past.
"The beauty of this gadget is that it would be fairly cost-effective for dentists to buy, and any patient with an MP3 player would be able to benefit from it, at no extra cost."
Experts from King's College London and the universities of Brunel and London South Bank are now seeking funding to develop the project.
"What we need now is an investor to develop the product further, to enable us to bring this device to as many dental surgeries as possible, and help people whose fear of visiting the dentist stops them from seeking the oral healthcare they need," Millar said.
Copyright 2011 AFP Global Edition