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Mapping of the sound environment of an ICU room – and patient perceptions


A newly published study from Sweden describes the audible atmosphere of an intensive care unit patient room over a 24hour period. The study aimed to investigate sound level data and compare patient recollection of the sound environment during the stay.

The study showed that sound levels are exceeding 55dB for between 70-90% of the time, which is in contrast to WHO recommendations. Many patients had memories of certain sounds from their care period and some even triggered fears in the patient. The study originated in ambition to look for possible correlations between high sound levels and incidence of ICU delirium, but due to the small sample of patients it has not been possible to draw any statistically proven conclusion from this particular data. As ICU delirium is a condition linked to high mortality and longer hospital stay further research is needed to clarify this.
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Healthcare Environments 147

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