Shhhh! Patients Are Sleeping
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 6, 2017 -- In hospitals around the world, noise complaints are booming. But some medical centers are trying to stem the 'round-the-clock' racket.
Medical equipment, air circulation machinery, announcements and staff pages create a cacophony of sounds 24/7 that can stress patients, staff and visitors alike, said Ilene Busch-Vishniac, a consultant on noise control.
Besides sleep disruptions, high noise levels in hospitals can change patients' heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. These, in turn, boost stress levels and may slow healing, said Busch-Vishniac, of BeoGrin Consulting in Baltimore.
Excessive noise can also interfere with communication between hospital staff and patients, she added.
Equipment alarms are a major source of hospital noise. While some of these alarms alert staff to changes in a patient's medical condition, others sound when medication or batteries are running low.
"Alarms in hospitals are being horribly abused. Most of the time, they don't in fact indicate urgent situations," Busch-Vishniac said in a news release from the Acoustical Society of America.
Bedside alarms sound an average 133 times a day, according to background research with the study.
"Most alarms are being responded to eventually, but not all in a timely fashion," Busch-Vishniac said. "Staff also may not respond quickly because they recognize that the sound is not critical and the situation will right itself."
Busch-Vishniac said she has reviewed the limited number of studies dealing with hospital noise.
Steps hospitals are taking include installing noise-dampening materials in the walls and ceilings; keeping the door to a patient's room closed; and establishing quiet hours when doors are closed and voices are kept low.
Another approach is having alarms sound at the nursing stations as well as in a patient's room, which means the alarm volume can be turned down.
In the future, it may be possible to do away with bedside alarms, Busch-Vishniac said.
She is scheduled to present her research Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, in New Orleans. Studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 2017
Read this next
THURSDAY, Oct. 29, 2020 -- You might be onto something if you suspect your mental and physical health declined during the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year. Stay-at-home orders...
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28, 2020 -- If you're the parent of a teen, you had plenty to deal with before the pandemic began -- dramatic sighs, slamming doors, eye-rolling -- and that was...
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28, 2020 -- Many aspects of daily living can trigger stress. But for Black women, everyday stressors plus racial discrimination and a specific genetic mutation may...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
- Monthly Update Archive
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.