Is it Rude to Listen to Music at the Dentist?

We all have to do it from time to time, though surely very few of us actually look forward to it or enjoy it: going to the dentist. 

Most of the time, the dreaded visits are made even worse by the sheer level of boredom that comes along with waiting in the lobby for your turn with the dentist.

That’s where your smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player comes in handy as well as a pair of earbuds!

But, is it rude to listen to music at the dentist’s office? Read on and find out the answer below!

Is it Rude to Listen to Music at the Dentist?

While it is not rude to listen to music at the dentist, in general, it is rude to do so on your device if you are not utilizing earbuds or headphones to listen to it. Otherwise, everyone at the dentist’s office is subjected to whatever songs you happen to feel like playing at the time.

It is rude in general to force people to hear what you are doing on your phone while you wait at the dentist’s. That includes message notifications, talking on phone calls, and yes, listening to music. 

How Rude Is it?


On a scale of 1 to 10, listening to music at the dentist rates a 3 on the rude meter. If you are listening to said music on a device with no headphones or earbuds, however, the rating jumps up to 10 out of 10. 

The reason listening to music at the dentist doesn’t rate fewer stars is that sometimes your music is louder than you think, even with earbuds or headphones in use, and it bothers the person next to you.

Why is it Not Rude?

It isn’t rude to listen to music at the dentist, generally. But, when you take into account that people do it without using headphones or earbuds, then it becomes rude.

If your music isn’t loud enough for anyone else to hear it while they wait for the dentist or receptionist to call their name, you aren’t being rude.

Other Options to Do Instead

Instead of listening to music at the dentist, try a few of these other options:

  • Turn your music off when you enter the lobby of the dentist’s office
  • Have a conversation with the people in the lobby with you
  • Talk to the dentist around a mouth full of tools
  • Keep your ears open for the medical advice of the doctor instead of listening to music
  • Take a book and read it instead
  • Do school work and crunch some paperwork for work while you wait

Common Questions

When is it rude to listen to music at the dentist’s?

Listening to music on your device is not rude if you are still waiting in the lobby. The thing is, no one should be able to hear your music, and you should be able to hear when the receptionist or dentist calls your name.

Does the dentist care if you listen to music?

The dentist does care whether you listen to music, not in the lobby, but in the dentist’s chair. Even if you aren’t talking much, the dentist may have questions that you need to answer. The dentist may also have some friendly tips or serious medical advice that you need to hear. That is why it is rude to listen to music while the dentist is operating on your mouth.

Is listening to music in the lobby rude?

No, not by any means. Listening to the music in the lobby of the dentist’s office is A-ok. There is nothing rude about it. The catch is, if your music keeps you from hearing the doctor when it is your turn to go back, or other patients waiting for their turn can hear your music, it is too loud and becomes rude after a short time.