The sound and acoustics generated in healthcare settings have a major impact on both patients and staff. With sound levels increasing, Andrea Harman, from Saint-Gobain Ecophon, discusses some of the main considerations in creating a quieter, more calming, recovery environment.
Research shows that the sound and acoustics generated in healthcare settings have a major impact on both patients and nursing staff. Hospitals are now noisy places, and do not always provide an acoustic environment designed for healing. Sound levels are still increasing, but are we listening? Andrea Harman, Concept developer, Healthcare, Saint-Gobain Ecophon, discusses some of the main considerations in creating a quieter, more calming, recovery environment.
Poor room acoustic environments make us anxious, stressed, tired, and error-prone; thus when we imagine a space designed for rest and recovery, we think of a place that is quiet, peaceful, and calm – for both patients, and the people working there. In reality a hospital is very different to that image. Patients are often surrounded by noise from alarms, equipment, and voices, and since the 1970s sound levels have been increasing. While the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that average hospital sound levels should not exceed 35 dB, many studies have shown levels that are consistently far higher than this.
A UK-based study on a stroke rehabilitation ward registered average daytime levels of 64 dB, and night-time levels of 56 dB, with repeated single sounds of 100 dB. Sound is expressed using a logarithmic scale, so the actual increase is far more impactful than the figures may suggest. 64 dB is the equivalent sound level to that of people laughing, while 100 dB is equivalent to someone close by using a jackhammer
Log in or register FREE to read the rest
This story is Premium Content and is only available to registered users. Please log in at the top of the page to view the full text.
If you don't already have an account, please register with us completely free of charge.