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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 102  |  Page : 200--216

Environmental noise levels in hospital settings: A rapid review of measurement techniques and implementation in hospital settings

1 Applied Psychoacoustics Laboratory, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, United Kingdom
2 Centre for Applied Research in Health, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, United Kingdom
3 Acoustics Research Centre, University of Salford, Salford, M5 4WT, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Hyunkook Lee
Applied Psychoacoustics Laboratory, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_19_18

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Background: Hospitals provide treatment to improve patient health and well-being but the characteristics of the care environment receive little attention. Excessive noise at night has a negative impact on in-patient health through disturbed sleep. To address this hospital staff must measure night-time environmental noise levels. Therefore, an understanding of environmental noise measurement techniques is required. In this review, we aim to 1) provide a technical overview of factors to consider when measuring environmental noise in hospital settings; 2) conduct a rapid review on the equipment and approaches used to objectively measured noise in hospitals and identify methodological limitations. Design: A rapid review of original research articles, from three databases, published since 2008. Studies were included if noise levels were objectively measured in a hospital setting where patients were receiving treatment. Results: 1429 articles were identified with 76 included in the review. There was significant variability in the approaches used to measure environmental noise in hospitals. Only 14.5% of studies contained sufficient information to support replication of the measurement process. Most studies measured noise levels using a sound level meter positioned closed to a patient’s bed area in an intensive care unit. Conclusion: Unwanted environmental noise in hospital setting impacts negatively on patient and staff health and well-being. However, this literature review found that the approaches used to objectively measure noise level in hospital settings have been inconsistent and poorly reported. Recommendations on best-practice methods to measure noise levels in hospital environments are provided.


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