The result is usually a lengthy reverberation time and clamorous, uncomfortable auditory environments.
Studies routinely show that disruptive noise has a direct negative effect on the health, comfort and wellbeing of patients in healthcare practices. Additionally, acoustically balanced healthcare environments have also been linked to reduced stress, fatigue and distraction amongst patient care teams (PCTs).
- A 2004 study found that disruptive noises can trigger “startle reflexes” in patients – leading to higher respiratory rates and elevated blood pressure levels (Cmiel, C. A., et al)
- A 2005 study revealed higher than normal pulse amplitudes in heart attack patients in acoustically poor healthcare environments as opposed to treated spaces (Hagerman, I., et al)
- Other studies have highlighted other adverse effects of poor healthcare acoustics on patients, including sleep deprivation, higher re-admittance rates and privacy and security for patients and their families.
- “In one study, patients in an intensive coronary care unit using sound-absorbing ceiling tiles felt PCTs had better attitudes as compared to the perceptions of PCT attitudes among patients in a unit with sound-reflecting ceiling tiles.” (CISCA, 2010)
- Intensive care nurses reported irritation, fatigue, distraction and tension headaches as a result of acoustically poor environments in a 2008 survey (Ryehard E. E., et al)
- A 2005 comparative study in a Swedish hospital found that nurses reported lower work demands and feelings of pressure when reverberant ceiling tiles were replaced with acoustic panels (Blomkvist, V., et al.)