Exploring the Effects of Hospital Noise

We’ve been talking about hospital noise quite a bit lately. It may seem odd to focus on it so much, but studies are showing that hospital noise has more of an impact than we ever before believed or understood.

According to the NIH, the effects of hospital noise are profound. “The body responds to noise in the same way it responds to stress and overtime can impair health.” We’ve discussed how noise impacts patients in the hospital, but what we haven’t really thought about is how noise impacts the nurses themselves.

Nurses themselves are subjected to the noises from each and every hospital room they visit. They also have alarms, phones, and alert systems at their stations between rooms. In some areas, there have been studies as to the effectiveness of alarms when nurses are dulled to the noise – making them less likely to respond to critical care needs in a timely manner simply because they are no longer processing the sounds. We also have to wonder if the nurses are suffering additional stress throughout their lives simply because of the additional sound exposure.

One thing is for sure. We can’t have silent hospitals. That said, we have to find new ways to ensure nurse and patients can communicate without creating stress – for either.

What do you think?

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