Birmingham Women’s Hospital NHS Trust took part in a regional campaign to raise awareness of noise levels in Neonatal Units and the need to reduce them. Lead by Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Cheryl Lewis, the campaign highlighted the impact noise can have on babies, and included staff training, posters and badges, and the use of a Decibel Monitor in the Unit.
Neonatal Units can be very noisy places, with the amount of medical equipment, alarms, telephones and people’s voices, and this can impact upon the babies’ development.
Most of the babies are premature and should be in the womb. They are not able to shut out noise and this can be stressful, making it difficult for them to sleep.
When babies are able to have a good quality sleep they are more stable and will actually grow more quickly. In a noisy and busy environment premature and sick babies are more physically unstable, sleep less, grow more slowly and may have longer term developmental problems such as poor concentration.
Quiet time for the babies is important, and noise levels can be stressful for staff and patients too.