Environmental Noise Levels in Hospital Settings: A Rapid Review of Measurement Techniques and Implementation in Hospital Settings

Rory Wallis, Emma Harris, Hyunkook Lee, William Davies, Felicity Astin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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 3 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-216
Number of pages17
JournalNoise and Health
Early online date17 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

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