Hospital Acoustics For Patient Well-being

Healthcare spaces unfortunately abound with acoustic problems. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there is often a lot of noise made by different sources, including; equipment, monitors, ventilation, TVs, beds being moved and people talking and moving. Secondly, the hard, easy-to-clean surfaces used in the construction of healthcare spaces are highly reverberant.

The result is usually a lengthy reverberation time and clamorous, uncomfortable auditory environments.

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Patient Wellbeing

Studies routinely show that noisy environments have an adverse effect on hospital patients - leading to spikes in blood pressure, stress levels and general discomfort.

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Patient Care

Acoustic treatments in hospitals have been shown to improve the quality of care nurses and doctors carry out, as reported by patient surveys

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Hospital announcements can become intelligible when hard surface are prominent. The inclusion of sound absorbing surfaces has been shown to increase comprehension of safety announcements in hospitals.

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Learn More About Healthcare Acoustics

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.)

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