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JCOM Abstract

J Clin Outcomes Manage 
2012 Jul;19(7):301-309
Noise pollution in hospitals: impact on patients
Hsu T, Ryherd E, Waye KP, Ackerman J

Abstract Objective: To review the epidemiology of noise pollution in hospitals and its effects on patients. Methods: Review of the literature. Results: Using academic search engines such as PubMed, JSTOR, and JASA, as well as common internet search engines, 36 papers were selected that focus on noise as it relates to patient sleep disturbances, cardiovascular response, length of hospital stay, pain management, wound healing, and physiological reactions. Results generally show the potential for negative physiological effect when patients are exposed to noise; however, conflicting studies are also reported. This review attempts to define the research chain in the collected articles by determining which acoustic characteristics were examined, what type of acoustic intervention (if any) was used, and what the patient outcomes were. Conclusion: The effects of hospital noise on patients are generally negative but sometimes inconclusive. Information on specific acoustic metrics/methodologies used is often limited, few studies examine the impacts of acoustic interventions, and some patient outcomes were studied in a limited number of articles or via small subject sample sizes, highlighting areas of potential future research.

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