One of the participants at EuroNoise 2009 is Gudrun Jonsdottir, acoustician at EFLA, Iceland. At the conference, I had the opportunity to talk to her about noise control in hospitals in Iceland.
What is the situation in Iceland when it comes to hospital buildings; do people think the sound environment is important?
Hospital staff and patients make complaints about the sound environment, I must say. They are aware of the problems it causes, like tiredness and irritation. But they do not know what to do about it.
And what do you think, is it important to work with acoustic and noise control in hospitals?Yes, definitely. There are a lot of studies that shows that good room acoustics can, for example, lower medication requirements and decrease the number of days patients stay in the hospital. We have a lot of evidence that it is really important.?
Are there any specific room types in hospitals where it is of special importance to improve the room acoustics?To my opinion, it is any room where there are two or more patients and where there is a lot of medical equipment that makes different sounds. This environment can lead to stressful situations for the patient.
When you evaluate the acoustics in a room, what kind of aspects do you think is important to measure?The reverberation time and the sound pressure level, among others. And in some room types it can also be important to measure the sound propagation, privacy and speech clarity. In a hospital there are lots of different types of spaces.?
Finally, what about the solutions? What would you recommend to architects who want to lower noise levels in hospitals?Of course, it is usually the ceilings we recommend to provide the required sound absorption. It can also be important to add sound absorption on the walls. I evaluate how best to optimise the interventions, depending on the layout of the room, the ceiling heights, and the dimension of the room. Before giving solutions, it is always important to make clear what the aim of the work is and what you want to achieve.