Date of this Version
Acoustic conditions in hospitals have been shown to influence a patient’s physical and psychological health. Noise levels in an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital were measured and compared between various times: before, during, and after renovations of a hospital wing. The renovations included cosmetic changes and the installation of new in-room patient audio-visual systems. Sound pressure levels were logged every 10-seconds over a four-day period in three different locations: at the nurses' station, in the hallway, and in a nearby patient’s room. The resulting data were analyzed in terms of the hourly A-weighted equivalent sound pressure levels (𝐿𝐴eq) as well as various exceedence levels (𝐿𝑛). Additionally, a subjective noise perception patient survey was conducted to record the impressions of patients in the ward regarding noise. The relationships between a patient’s gender, age and responses to noise were examined. Results show that current noise level guidelines were exceeded regularly; despite this the surveys showed most patients were not very annoyed with the noise. Additionally, no relationships were found between a patient’s gender or age to various noise responses. The survey also asked participants to rank the most bothersome noise sources in the hospital environment and showed that the number of people annoyed by TV noise doubled from the during renovation to after renovation time periods. Overall this study did not find very large changes in sound levels or overall patient noise perception between the various time periods.