6 Minute English

It listens to the sound - as it's happening - of the dentist's drill inside the patient's mouth, which as everybody knows is a horrible sound. So bad, in fact, that it ...
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BBC Learning English 6 Minute English

Dentist’s drill NB: This is not a word for word transcript

Alice:

Hello, I'm Alice…

Stephen:

And I'm Stephen.…

Alice:

And this is 6 Minute English! This week we’re talking about a very common phobia – a fear of the dentist – and a possible new treatment. But first of all, Stephen, how does this sound make you feel?

Insert 1: Sound of a dentist’s drill

Stephen:

Ouch! Oh, that sounds very painful.

Alice:

Oh, are you scared of going to the dentist?

Stephen:

Yeah, absolutely terrified.

Alice:

Oh - you poor thing. Well, as usual I’m going to ask you a question related to today’s topic. Which of these is NOT a real phobia – a word that describes a persistent and sometimes irrational fear? Are you ready?

Stephen:

Yes.

Alice:

OK… a) agoraphobia,

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b) arachnophobia, c) televiphobia

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Stephen:

I’m going to take a guess on c, televiphobia.

Alice:

Well, I won’t tell you the answer now - but we’ll find out at the end of the programme. Now let’s find out about this new gadget which might help people who are scared of visiting the dentist – that’s dentaphobia by the way.

Stephen:

A fear of going to the dentist.

Alice:

Here’s Dentist Dr Andrew Parkman, describing how some patients feel when they come to sit in his consulting chair:

Insert 2: Dr Andrew Parkman We kind of notice people as soon as the drill starts up. They can tense up, they might tense their shoulders, they might tense their fingers. Certainly, you can see a tension come over them with that sound - that high-pitched noise.

Alice:

Dr Parkman says his patients tense up – the dentist can see a tension come over them with that high-pitched sound of the drill. It puts them off going to the dentist.

Stephen:

It puts them off – it discourages them from doing something.

Alice:

So let’s look at this new gadget which blocks out the sound of the drill. It’s just a prototype at the moment.

Stephen:

A prototype is the first form of something which may go on to be manufactured. In this case, it’s a gadget the size of a mobile phone which can block out the sound of the dentist’s drill.

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Alice:

Here’s Professor Brian Millar from King’s College London’s Dental Institute, telling us how the prototype works:

Insert 2: Dr Andrew Parkman It listens to the sound - as it’s happening - of the dentist’s drill inside the patient’s mouth, which as everybody knows is a horrible sound. So bad, in fact, that it actually puts some patients even off going to the dentist to seek important dental health care. So, we listen to the sound of the drill, we produce a cancelling signal which is really effectively an opposite sound – and then we just knock it out with the filtering system.

Alice:

The gadget produces a cancelling signal, an opposite sound to knock out the sound of the drill. This means the patient can listen to music and can still hear the voice of the dentist or dental nurse, but they won’t hear the high-pitched sound of the drill.

Stephen:

It uses a sound filtering system. So are we hoping that these gadgets will be in all dentist’s surgeries soon?

Alice:

Well, the team that developed them are still looking for a manufacturer to mass-produce the prototypes. So in the meantime, perhaps we need some advice from the experts about how to deal with a phobia of the dentist. Here’s Dr Kathy Sykes with some advice about how to keep calm when you’re feeling anxious:

6 Minute English

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Insert 4: Dr Kathy Sykes It’s worth trying to work out what your own response is. So for instance, remember the last time you had an anxiety problem – and think about what your body did. You know, did you feel hot? Did you find your hands beginning to clench? And then the next time you find your hands clenching – or find, you know, whatever symptom it was you spotted, try to do something to calm down. Taking a few moments outside for some fresh air to clear your head - or maybe just listening to a bit of music. Whatever you think calms you down. Try to do that.

Alice:

Dr Kathy Sykes says that if you can spot the symptoms when you feel anxious – worried – you can help yourself to try to calm down.

Stephen:

The symptoms are how your body shows the anxiety. Do you feel hot? Do you clench up your hands into little balls?

Alice:

She suggests you listen to music or go outside for some fresh air when you feel these symptoms. Now, before we go let’s answer our question. We heard a couple of terms used to describe phobias. But I made one of them up, Stephen. Did you guess which?

Stephen:

Let me see. You said 'agoraphobia' – I think that’s a real phobia – it’s a fear of going outside

Alice:

Correct. And 'arachnophobia'?

Stephen:

Oh, that’s a very common phobia. A fear of spiders, I believe?

Alice:

Well done!

Stephen:

So I’m guessing 'televiphobia' was the odd one out.

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Alice:

You’re right. And your prize, Stephen, is to read some of the words and phrases that we’ve used in today’s programme!

Stephen:

phobia persistent irrational patients tense up it puts them off prototype gadget cancelling signal drill anxious symptoms

Alice:

Well, we hope you’ve had fun with us today on 6 Minute English - and that you’ll join us again next time.

Both:

6 Minute English

Bye.

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Vocabulary and definitions

phobia

a fear that there is no clear reason for

persistent

something that happens repeatedly for a long time

irrational

something that we cannot understand because there doesn't seem to be any real reason for it

patients

people who are being given medical care

tense up

when the muscles tighten up because of fear or anxiety

it puts them off

it discourages or stops them from doing something

prototype

the first form of something that may be made in large numbers in the future

gadget

a machine or piece of equipment that is used for a particular purpose

a cancelling signal

here, a sound which covers up or prevents another sound from being heard

drill

here, an instrument used by dentists to cut into a tooth so that it can be repaired

anxious

nervous or worried

symptoms

unpleasant things that happen to your body as a result of an illness or infection

More on this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12137810 Read and listen to the story and the vocabulary online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/general/sixminute/2011/01/110113_6min_dentist_page.shtml

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