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Home > Noise Mitigation > Hospital

HOSPITAL

Noise gets the worst marks on patient hospital surveys; according to studies, common hospital sounds have a noise level of 85 dB (A) which has 100,000 times higher sound pressure compared to the recommended 35 dB (A) by the World Health Organization.

 

Effects of Noise on Patients

Patients treated with poor acoustic conditions have suffered a number of negative impacts. For example, research has shown that high noise levels cause annoyance among patients. Sleep disruption and awakening, increased blood pressure, decreased rates of healing, and higher incidences of re-hospitalization are among other negatives effects of noise in health care environments.

 

Sources of Noise in Hospitals

There are two major reasons why hospitals are considered noisy. The first is the huge number of noise sources. The second is that the surfaces in hospitals tend to be more reflective than absorbent.

 

Strategies to Mitigate Noise in Hospitals

Several interventions can be used to improve the acoustic environment in hospitals. First is the architectural design of hospitals. Instead of having to make changes later, the design of the hospital should factor in acoustics early enough.

Architectural design solutions include:

  • Providing single-patient rooms as well as enclosed room in examination and treatment areas

  • Designing and building same-handed rooms which greatly reduce sound transmission

  • Incorporating dispersed nursing zones

  • Providing private discussion areas in both admitting areas and in units

 

The other intervention would be to use acoustics to improve the hospital environment. Here, hospitals can do the following:

 

  • Eliminate or reduce noise sources

  • Use of high-performance acoustical ceilings and other sound absorbing surfaces to absorb noise

  • Use of a combination of effective furniture layout, wall design, and ceilings to block or minimize sound transmission

 

Advanced technology and evolving regulations will impact how care is delivered and how acoustics will become integrated into health care environments.

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