Noise Pollution In Hospitals Making It Hard For Patients To Recover

Noise levels in hospitals are making it harder for patients to rest and recuperate, a recent study has found.

According to the new study, published in the BMJ medical journal, noise pollution levels in hospitals are getting worse.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Andreas Xyrichis, stressed that the noise levels are bad even in the ICUs: “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.”

Here are the main issues and concerns the study highlighted:

  • Noise levels in hospitals are steadily getting worse, levels often exceeding international recommendations.
  • 4 in 10 (40%) patients are bothered by noise at night.
  • Even in ICUs (intensive care units), the noise levels are worrying, measured often at over 100 dB. That is the same as listening to loud music through headphones.
  • Hospital noise disrupts sleep.
  • The excessive noise impairs the ability of hospital staff to do their work effectively.
  • The noise has been linked to hospitalisation induced stress, intensive care psychosis, increased pain sensitivity, high blood pressure, and poor mental health.

Potential noise sources include alarms, televisions, rattling trolleys, ringing phones, as well as staff, visitor, and patient conversations.

Hospitals are places for healing and recovery – being really noisy doesn’t help with that. Let’s hope the NHS does more to tackle the issues. 

Until then, consider grabbing your noise-canceling headphones in case a visit to the hospital becomes necessary.

Also, next time you visit someone in a hospital, be mindful of how loud you are. Let’s do our part.

Source: The British Medical Journal

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