Mid-level transient sound occurrence rates significantly correlated to perceived annoyance and loudness levels

Intensive care units (ICUs) have important but challenging sound environments. Alarms and equipment generate high levels of noise and ICUs are typically designed with hard surfaces. A poor sound environment can add to stress and make auditory tasks more difficult for clinicians. Two units with similar patient acuity and treatment models showed little differences based on traditional overall noise measures. The objective differences between the two occupied sound environments emerged only through a more comprehensive analysis of the “occurrence rate” of peak and maximum levels, frequency content, and the speech interference level. Furthermore, mid-level transient sound occurrence rates were significantly and positively correlated to perceived annoyance and loudness levels.

Source: Soundscape evaluations in two critical healthcare settings with different designs. Selen Okcu, Erica E. Ryherd, Craig Zimring, and Owen Samuels.  J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 130, Issue 3, pp. 1348-1358 (2011).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3607418

 

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