Healing environments sound good too

Sound environments can greatly impact a patient’s hospital stay and often come up in patient evaluations.

Here are two examples from the UK Patient Opinion website:

“There were no doors only curtains, the lady next to me coughed all night and the two patients next to her were snoring. The nurse’s room was right next to me, I could hear every word they were saying. The phone went all night looking for beds—I hardly slept a wink. (…) I hope I never have to go back in, it was a nightmare, for me.”

Compared with this one:

“Their standard of care was excellent and the peace and quiet at night in that ward with no trolleys with wobbly wheels or loud discussions by staff in the middle of the night was most appreciated.”

We know sound plays an important role in terms of getting the rest needed to heal, which also impacts the length of the stay and even perception of the staff. And while healing environments are often discussed, it’s not that common that a whole day is dedicated to research in healthcare-related acoustics.

In October 2013, Ljudmiljöcentrum at Lund University and Ecophon partnered to bring just that; Care for Sound was an interdisciplinary symposium on sound environment, healing and healthcare. The symposium was booked to the last seat weeks beforehand, indicating the need for the event and interest in the topic.


Six speakers with varied backgrounds and experience shared their expertise;

  • Per Thorgaard – Cheif Physician Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark
  • Kerstin Persson Waye – Prof. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Gothenburg University, Sweden
  • Johannes van den Berg – PhD, Director of Transport, Norrland University Hospital, Sweden
  • Patrik Grahn – Prof. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Töres Theorell – Prof. emeritus Stress Research Institute, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Maria Quinn – Former Coronary Care Nurse, now Ecophon, Sweden


All speakers were filmed and interviewed; if you work with healthcare environments, this provides insights to some important research in how we can design healing environments that sound good and has a beneficial impact on patients and staff.

Download the presentations in text format or watch the filmed material.

Follow Maria Quinn on Twitter:

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