ICU noise far above recommended levels

Noise in hospitals' intensive care units often surpasses recommended levels, potentially putting patients at risk, according to research presented at Euroanaesthesia 2016. Researchers, led by Eveline Claes, M.D., of Hasselt, Belgium's Jessa Ziekenhuis Hospital, found bedside sound levels averaged 52.8 decibels (dBA) at night and 54.6 dBA in the daytime, with noise levels peaking at 101.1 dBA. The World Health Organization recommends levels of less than 35 dBA. "Those elevated sound levels as well as frequent sound level peaks can be responsible for the subjective feeling of noise pollution experienced by patients, nurses and doctors," Claes said in a statement. "In our department, measures should be taken to reduce the average sound level and the incidence and magnitude of sound level peaks." Study announcement

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