Are healthcare providers providing the rooms we need to heal effectively?
The impact of good acoustics on the success of healthcare is an increasingly hot topic, with a clear link increasingly seen between the provision of a calm, quiet acoustic environment and improved treatment outcomes.
In the fourth episode of A Sound Effect on People, we start our investigation into the impact of good acoustic design in healthcare. Hospitals are often noisy places, and not just due to the beeping of alarms. They are also places of communication, filled with their own rhythm and routines, the clank of the tea trolley alongside the welcome distraction of chatting visitors. When combined with the hard surfaces that are sometimes necessary for cleaning, it can become difficult to maintain the calm environment needed for healing.
Sound affects healing in an already stressful environment
In the first part of the podcast, host Salma Cranfield and Ecophon UK&I Concept Developer for Healthcare Andrea Harman (@Andrea_Harman) discuss the current situation in hospitals, how unwanted noise affects healing, and what can be done to reduce noise in environments that are already stressful for patients. Andrea explains how, when acoustics are considered and improved, studies have shown that patients recover more quickly, use less pain medication and generally feel ‘more well’ when they leave the hospital.
Staff members need to be productive and accurate
However, it is also important to consider the staff. Working in a noisy environment makes it harder to concentrate, increasing stress and the risk of mistakes. As with any workplace, providing an appropriate space ensures productive and happier staff. In a hospital, with lives potentially at risk, the risks are even greater than usual.
Guidelines and standards for hospitals
Andrea also discusses the UK’s HTM acoustic standards for hospitals, and how they are helping to drive standards within new builds, but will take time to affect the older hospital stock. This is a subject that will be dug into in Part II of the podcast, to be released in early 2017.
New research showed simple measures can have profound effects
In the second part of the podcast, Andrea is joined by Andrew Parkin, Partner and Global Head of Acoustics at Cundall. Andrew and Andrea dig into the results of a recent study where simple improvements in the physical environment, had a profound effect on the success of the healthcare provision in a UK hospital.
Where to find the podcast
The podcast can be found on iTunes, or via your usual podcast app. Just search for A Sound Effect on People, and subscribe for future episodes. We hope you enjoy the episode, please share to anyone you think should listen and leave a comment below if you have any questions.