Noise levels in hospitals are typically more than 15 dB(A) higher than target values given in guidelines (for example target values from WHO and the US Environmental Protection Agency). Furthermore, noise is often one of the top complaints from staff and patients. This is concluded in a review made by Hui Xie and Jian Kang at the University of Sheffield.
The aim of the review was to analyze the influence of noise on patients’ sleep in Intensive Care Units and includes studies made in a number of ICUs.
The overall arousal and awakening from sleep are caused by both people and technical-medical equipment. The review shows that hospitals use a combination of different noise reduction strategies to manage the noise. These strategies can be divided in four groups; Acoustic materials, behavioral modifications, sound masking, and earplugs/earmuffs.
By Katrin Bergmark, Concept Developer – Healthcare, Ecophon Sweden.