Simple steps can lower hospital noise

Increasingly, research has started to suggest that background noise in hospitals can keep patients awake or otherwise disturb them, potentially interfering with their recovery. While new hospitals can be built to minimize such problems, existing hospitals still struggle to institute policies that can dampen excess sound and leave patients in relative peace.

Thankfully, lowering noise levels may not be as difficult as it sounds. In fact, a new study by British researchers suggest that a group of simple steps can lower noise levels by 20 percent.

The study, which was conducted by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust involved 46 staff members in an initiative taking in 92 beds on three wards. These staffers received individual training on noise reduction from a single staff nurse in an effort to ensure consistency in their education.

The facility took several practice steps to reduce excess sound, including relocating phones and cutting back on phones while lowering the volume of those that remained; changing the nurse-call system; and changing where drawers and trash bins were placed. These steps moved the average noise level from 96.48 decibels over 24 hours to 77.52 decibels at the study's end.

To get more data from the study:
- read this UPI piece

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