Soundscape evaluations in two critical healthcare settings with different designs

Selen Okcu, Erica E. Ryherd, Craig Zimring, Owen Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intensive care units (ICUs) have important but challenging sound environments. Alarms and equipment generate high levels of noise and ICUs are typically designed with hard surfaces. A poor sound environment can add to stress and make auditory tasks more difficult for clinicians. However few studies have linked more detailed analyses of the sound environment to nurse wellbeing and performance. This study is aimed at understanding the relationships between objective acoustic measures and self-reported nurse outcomes. Two 20-bed ICUs with similar patient acuity and treatment models were tested: A recently built neurological ICU and a 1980s-era medical-surgical ICU. The medical-surgical ICU was perceived as louder, more annoying, and having a greater negative impact of noise on work performance, health outcomes, and anxiety as compared to the neurological ICU. Surprisingly, there were little differences between two ICU sound environments based on traditional overall noise measures. The objective differences between the occupied sound environments in the two units only emerged through a more comprehensive analysis of the occurrence rate of peak and maximum levels, frequency content, and the speech interference level. Furthermore, mid-level transient sound occurrence rates were significantly and positively correlated to perceived annoyance and loudness levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1358
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume130
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

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acoustics
evaluation
auditory tasks
anxiety
occurrences
acuity
loudness
warning systems
Evaluation
Soundscape
Healthcare
Intensive Care
health
beds
Sound
interference
Nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this

Soundscape evaluations in two critical healthcare settings with different designs. / Okcu, Selen; Ryherd, Erica E.; Zimring, Craig; Samuels, Owen.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 130, No. 3, 01.09.2011, p. 1348-1358.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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