Noise pollution in hospitals – a rising problem

 

London, UK (November 18, 2018) – In an editorial published today in the BMJ, researchers from King’s College London and the University of the Arts London (UAL) argue that it is a worsening problem, with levels regularly exceeding international recommendations. „Even in intensive care units, which cater for the most vulnerable patients, noise levels over 100dB have been measured, the equivalent of loud music through headphones,“ said lead author Dr Andreas Xyrichis.

Noise in hospitals is known to hinder communication among staff, causing annoyance, irritation and fatigue, and detrimentally impact the quality and safety of healthcare. High noise levels and noise-induced stress impact negatively on staff performance and wellbeing, compromising caring behaviour and contributing to burnout.

The team highlight that it can also impact a patients‘ ability to rest, heal and recover, since it has been linked to the development of ICU psychosis, hospitalisation-induced stress, increased pain sensitivity, high blood pressure and poor mental health.

„We know hospital noise has disruptive consequences for sleep – machine sounds in particular have a greater negative effect on arousal than human voices. Post-hospitalisation recovery is also compromised. For example, coronary care patients treated during noisy periods were found to have a higher incidence of rehospitalisation compared to those treated during quieter periods,“ explained Andreas.

Patients report that hospital noise can have a cumulative effect on their hospital experience. Patients who are in hospital for several nights are left feeling trapped and stressed, leading to requests for premature discharge from hospital and heightened risk of trauma and readmission.

The team from King’s and UAL believes that the following areas urgently need to be addressed to ensure significant progress in this slow-moving field:

Noise is often incorrectly associated with high sound pressure levels (SPLs). Dripping taps for example, may register low SPLs yet still be considered noisy. Prioritising SPL reduction does not ensure improved noise perception. Therefore, a new approach is needed, one that views the hospital soundscape as a positive and malleable component of the environment.

There are a number of potential sources of noise in hospitals. Alarms, televisions, rattling trolleys, and ringing phones, as well as staff, visitor, and patient conversations. However, not all of them are perceived as noise by patients – for example, some find the sound of the tea trolley pleasing, associating it with receiving a warm drink. Research has also shown that some ICU patients welcome ringing telephones as a sign that they are not alone. So far ways to measure patients‘ perceptions of noise are limited, and more research investment is needed in this area.

Patients and families need clear information about likely noise levels during admissions, so they are better prepared in advance, and can consider simple solutions such as headphones with their own choice of audio content. Education for staff is also needed, to encourage a culture that considers noise reduction an integral part of safe high quality healthcare.

„Measures to tackle this problem have included ear plugs, noise warning systems, acoustic treatment panels, educational initiatives and noise reduction protocols, which have provided some benefit,“ said Andreas.

„However, so far, patients have been seen as passive recipients of hospital noise rather than active participants in its creation. It is essential that future solutions should have greater patient participation as a key feature.

„Guides about potential ward sounds could also enhance patients‘ understanding of their surroundings and increase relaxation. Sound masking – the addition of background, broadband sound optimised for particular environments to reduce noise-induced disturbance – has also been used widely in open-plan offices for many years and has recently shown promise for improving sleep in hospitals.“

 


King’s College London, 18.11.2018 (tB).

Schlagwörter: ,

MEDICAL NEWS

New guidance to prevent the tragedy of unrecognized esophageal intubation
Overly restrictive salt intake may worsen outcomes for common form…
COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have prevanented 20 million deaths…
Novel sleep education learning modules developed for nurse practitioners
Scientists discover how salt in tumours could help diagnose and…

SCHMERZ PAINCARE

Aktuelle Versorgungssituation der Opioidtherapie im Fokus
Individuelle Schmerztherapie mit Opioiden: Patienten im Mittelpunkt
Versorgung verbessern: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin fordert die Einführung des…
Pflegeexpertise im Fokus: Schmerzmanagement nach Operationen
Versorgung verbessern: Bundesweite Initiative der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin zu…

DIABETES

Menschen mit Diabetes während der Corona-Pandemie unterversorgt? Studie zeigt auffällige…
Suliqua® zur Therapieoptimierung bei unzureichender BOT
„Wissen was bei Diabetes zählt: Gesünder unter 7 PLUS“ gibt…
Kaltplasma bei diabetischem Fußsyndrom wirkt via Wachstumsfaktoren
Typ-1-Diabetes: InRange – auf die Zeit im Zielbereich kommt es…

ERNÄHRUNG

Gesunde Ernährung: „Nicht das Salz und nicht das Fett verteufeln“
Mangelernährung gefährdet den Behandlungserfolg — DGEM: Ernährungsscreening sollte zur klinischen…
Wie eine Diät die Darmflora beeinflusst: Krankenhauskeim spielt wichtige Rolle…
DGEM plädiert für Screening und frühzeitige Aufbautherapie: Stationäre COVID-19-Patienten oft…
Führt eine vegane Ernährungsweise zu einer geringeren Knochengesundheit?

ONKOLOGIE

Nahrungsergänzungsmittel während der Krebstherapie: Es braucht mehr Bewusstsein für mögliche…
Fusobakterien und Krebs
Fortgeschrittenes Zervixkarzinom: Pembrolizumab verlängert Leben
Krebspatienten unter Immuntherapie: Kein Hinweis auf erhöhtes Risiko für schwere…
Aktuelle Kongressdaten zum metastasierten Mammakarzinom und kolorektalen Karzinom sowie Neues…

MULTIPLE SKLEROSE

Multiple Sklerose: Analysen aus Münster erhärten Verdacht gegen das Epstein-Barr-Virus
Aktuelle Daten zu Novartis Ofatumumab und Siponimod bestätigen Vorteil des…
Multiple Sklerose durch das Epstein-Barr-Virus – kommt die MS-Impfung?
Neuer Therapieansatz für Multiple Sklerose und Alzheimer
„Ich messe meine Multiple Sklerose selbst!“ – Digitales Selbstmonitoring der…

PARKINSON

Alexa, bekomme ich Parkinson?
Meilenstein in der Parkinson-Frühdiagnose
Parkinson-Erkrankte besonders stark von Covid-19 betroffen
Gangstörungen durch Kleinhirnschädigung beim atypischen Parkinson-Syndrom
Parkinson-Agenda 2030: Die kommenden 10 Jahre sind für die therapeutische…