Noise Health. 2019 Sep-Oct;21(102):200-216. doi: 10.4103/nah.NAH_19_18.
BACKGROUND: Hospitals provide treatment to improve patient health and well-being but the characteristics of the care environment receive little attention. Excessive noise at night has a negative impact on in-patient health through disturbed sleep. To address this hospital staff must measure night-time environmental noise levels. Therefore, an understanding of environmental noise measurement techniques is required. In this review, we aim to 1) provide a technical overview of factors to consider when measuring environmental noise in hospital settings; 2) conduct a rapid review on the equipment and approaches used to objectively measured noise in hospitals and identify methodological limitations.
DESIGN: : A rapid review of original research articles, from three databases, published since 2008. Studies were included if noise levels were objectively measured in a hospital setting where patients were receiving treatment.
RESULTS: 1429 articles were identified with 76 included in the review. There was significant variability in the approaches used to measure environmental noise in hospitals. Only 14.5% of studies contained sufficient information to support replication of the measurement process. Most studies measured noise levels using a sound level meter positioned closed to a patient's bed area in an intensive care unit.
CONCLUSION: : Unwanted environmental noise in hospital setting impacts negatively on patient and staff health and well-being. However, this literature review found that the approaches used to objectively measure noise level in hospital settings have been inconsistent and poorly reported. Recommendations on best-practice methods to measure noise levels in hospital environments are provided.