Strategic survey of sound levels in operating theatres and the ICU at Christchurch Hospital and assessment of their effects on personnel and patients
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Hospitals are intended to be quiet spaces to enhance tranquility and patient recovery. Studies conducted overseas suggest hospitals are excessively noisy in comparison with World Health Organization recommendations. This affects both patients and staff in terms of recovery time and exposure to occupational noise respectively. This study determined noise levels and sources in the intensive care units over both day and night periods. Occupational noise may also affect the hearing and concentration levels of staff, therefore noise levels were also measured in orthopaedic and cardiac surgery units and compared with International Standards Organization guidelines. Surveys were also completed to determine subjective impacts of noise. The aim of this study was to assess where the noise levels in Christchurch Hospital were in relation to similar hospitals overseas, if ICU noise exceeded WHO (Berglund, et al, 1999) noise recommendations and if surgery noise breached the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations (Department of Labour, 1995). Noise levels in the ICU had an LAeq of 55-60dB(A) during the day and 45-50dB(A) at night, with peaks elevated above 100dB(C), all exceeding WHO (Berglund, et al, 1999) recommended levels. Noise levels in surgeries showed LAeq levels between 60-75dB(A) and peak levels above 100dB(C), not breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations (Department of Labour, 1995). Staff surveys indicated a negative attitude towards noise, with over half of participants stating they would feel better if their workplace was less noisy and reporting they sometimes cannot concentrate because of the level of noise. Noise levels in the Christchurch Hospital should be reduced for patient tranquility and staff concentration.