The impact of the hospital environment on sleep has implications for patient recovery. A recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined the impact of 14 different types of sounds in the hospital on sleep disruption in healthy patients. Significantly, alarms were found to disturb patients 90 percent of the time, while common conversation (even whispering) disturbed patients 75% of the time. For designers, facility managers and hospital administrators, the findings have important implications for what sounds are the most important to target for noise reduction in hospital settings. It’s important to note, the study focused on healthy patients, indicating the impact of noise could be even more severe on unhealthy patients. However, the small sample size of 12 participants should also be noted, indicating more and/or larger studies should be conducted to verify the findings.
A brief summary of the study follows:
Twelve voluntary healthy participants took part in the 3-day study that included one night to gather baseline data and two nights where 14 different sounds were presented at increasing decibel levels during specific sleep stages. Results indicated that arousal responses to sounds varied by sound level and type and sleep stage. Electric sounds were more disruptive than all other sounds – including human voices.
This study was funded by the Academy of Architecture for Health, Facilities Guidelines Institute, and the Center for Health Design.
Here are the summaries referenced for this post:
And some others worth noting:
On a related note, our Cannon Design Research team has conducted research at OSF St. Francis Medical Center investigating whether adding a third corridor for service reduces noise in inpatient units which has lead to some interesting findings. Find more information about that here:
Susan Welker, AIA - 18 May 2013
Exactly! I did research during my Masters in Architecture about how more w...
Yen Cao - 15 May 2013
Way to go Brian! Congrats.
Air Monitoring - 15 May 2013
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Don Wesley - 14 May 2013
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Bob Farwell - 13 May 2013
Sara: Congratulations! I have always been impressed by your talents,work e...