Acoustical design of a burn acute care unit for enhanced patient comfort

Howard K. Pelton, Erica Ryherd, Melayne Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the various challenges faced in the acoustical remodel of a Burn Acute Care Unit. A specific focus is placed on the debridement treatment facility, where patients undergo daily removal of dead tissue. Debridement is extremely painful for patients and loud distress sounds are common. The existing facility consisted of institutional tiled walls, plaster ceiling, and ceramic tile floors. Privacy curtains provided the only separation between patient debridement stations and sound isolation between the debridement facility and the rest of the ward was inadequate. Patient distress sounds could clearly be heard throughout the ward, likely creating anxiety for the patients. The design philosophy for the remodeled facility was to create true treatment rooms, with "Spa-like" finishes. Details of the remodel are presented, including creation of sound locks for enhanced sound isolation and selection of absorptive treatment that met high sanitary standards. The L1 values for typical patient distress sounds as measured in adjacent spaces were reduced from 88 dBA before remodel to 55-58 dBA after the remodel. The result was enhanced privacy and acoustical comfort within the remodeled debridement treatment facility as well as to patient rooms throughout the ward

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalNoise Control Engineering Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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