Noise Pollution in Intensive Care Units and Emergency Wards

Document Type: Original

Authors

1 Department of pediatrics, Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of audiology, Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 General physician, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

Abstract

Introduction:
The improvement of technology has increased noise levels in hospital Wards to higher than international standard levels (35-45 dB). Higher noise levels than the maximum level result in patient’s instability and dissatisfaction. Moreover, it will have serious negative effects on the staff’s health and the quality of their services. The purpose of this survey is to analyze the level of noise in intensive care units and emergency wards of the Imam Reza Teaching Hospital, Mashhad.
Procedure:
This research was carried out in November 2009 during morning shifts between 7:30 to 12:00. Noise levels were measured 10 times at 30-minute intervals in the nursing stations of 10 wards of the emergency, the intensive care units, and the Nephrology and Kidney Transplant Departments of Imam Reza University Hospital, Mashhad. The noise level in the nursing stations was tested for both the maximum level (Lmax) and the equalizing level (Leq). The research was based on the comparison of equalizing levels (Leq) because maximum levels were unstable.
Results:
In our survey the average level (Leq) in all wards was much higher than the standard level. The maximum level (Lmax) in most wards was 85-86 dB and just in one measurement in the Internal ICU reached 94 dB. The average level of Leq in all wards was 60.2 dB. In emergency units, it was 62.2 dB, but it was not time related. The highest average level (Leq) was measured at 11:30 AM and the peak was measured in the Nephrology nursing station.
Conclusion:
 The average levels of noise in intensive care units and also emergency wards were  more than the standard levels and as it is known these wards have vital roles in treatment procedures, so more attention is needed in this area.

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