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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 60  |  Page : 230--236

The acoustic environment of intensive care wards based on long period nocturnal measurements


1 Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Chongqing University; Key Laboratory of New Technology for Construction of Cities in Mountain Area, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China; School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
2 Key Laboratory of New Technology for Construction of Cities in Mountain Area, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China; School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK

Correspondence Address:
Jian Kang
School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.102960

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The patients in the Intensive Care Units are often exposed to excessive levels of noise and activities. They can suffer from sleep disturbance, especially at night, but they are often too ill to cope with the poor environment. This article investigates the acoustic environment of typical intensive care wards in the UK, based on long period nocturnal measurements, and examines the differences between singlebed and multibed wards, using statistical analysis. It has been shown that the acoustic environment differs significantly every night. There are also significant differences between the noise levels in the singlebed and multibed wards, where acoustic ceilings are present. Despite the similar background noises in both ward types, more intrusive noises tend to originate from the multibed wards, while more extreme sounds are likely to occur in the single wards. The sound levels in the measured wards for each night are in excess of the World Health Organization's (WHO) guide levels by at least 20 dBA, dominantly at the middle frequencies. Although the sound level at night varies less than that in the daytime, the nocturnal acoustic environment is not dependant on any specific time, thus neither the noisiest nor quietest period can be determined. It is expected that the statistical analysis of the collected data will provide essential information for the development of relevant guidelines and noise reduction strategies.






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