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Hospital Noise Control

"Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well." -  Florence Nightingale, 1859.

Help & Information

Some Opinions

Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well.
Florence Nightingale, 1859.

The maximum sound level recommended for hospitals is 45 dB during the day and 35 dB at night
Environmental Protection Agency.

We love it. Itís a great reminder for staff when itís getting too noisy.
Mike Rhodes, Crittenton Hospital, Michigan.

Useful Links - Articles by Hospitals and Other Medical Professionals

SHHH! It’s Quiet Time at Stanford Hospital & Clinics
An article about Stanford Hospital and Clinics Night Shift Noise Reduction Project. Armed with SHHH (Silent Hospitals Help Healing) signs, decibel meters and SoundEar Noise Warning Signs, the team investigated the cause of high noise levels.

Sound Control for Improved Outcomes in Healthcare Settings [PDF File] - The Center For Health Design, A Joseph & R Ulrich
A paper funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examines how different aspects of sound (noise, speech privacy, speech intelligibility, and music) impact on patients and staff in the healthcare setting.

Johns Hopkins eNeonatal Review - February 2006, Volume 3, Number 6
Interesting articles and informative commentary on the acoustic environment of the NICU and particularly on the development of the brain and sensory mechanisms. There is evidence that unusual stimulation in the third trimester of pre term babies, such as noise levels that are much higher than they would have been in the uterus, can result in atypical brain development.

Rutgers University - [PDF file] - NICU Noise & Language Development
An article entitled Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Unit Noise & Language Development. A mother's body attenuates most frequencies about 250 Hz, so the baby is only exposed to low frequency noise. Pre term babies are exposed to these higher frequencies and this could have an influence in language development. Research carried out asks parents about the acoustic environment of the NICU and compares the results with the later language development.

Nursing Spectrum - Quiet Riot - Turn down the volume
A nice article about noise and its effect on premature babies. It includes notes about the effect of noise on such babies and some obvious but often missed tips on how to reduce the noise levels, from turning off radios to using sound-absorbing decor.

American Academy of Pediatrics - Noise: A Hazard for the Fetus and Newborn
Some information about the development hearing in the fetus and the effects of noise on the newborn and premature baby.

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