Evaluating hospital soundscapes to improve patient experience

Jay M. Bliefnick, Erica E. Ryherd, Rebecca Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Hospital soundscapes can be difficult environments to assess acoustically due to alarms, medical equipment, and the continuous activity within units. Routinely, patients perceive these soundscapes to be poor when rating their hospital experience on HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys administered after discharge. In this study, five hospital units of widely varying HCAHPS "quietness" performance were analyzed. Sound pressure levels were measured in 15 patient rooms and 5 nursing stations over 24-h periods. HCAHPS "quietness of the hospital environment" patient survey data were correlated with measured acoustical data at a room-level, revealing acoustical metrics linked to patient perceptions of hospital soundscape conditions. Metrics found to be statistically correlated (p < 0.05) included the absolute LA MIN levels in patient rooms, which found significantly higher HCAHPS quietness scores in units with average LA MIN levels below 35 dBA, in addition to specific low frequency octave bands and occurrence rates. Many other standard acoustical metrics (such as LA EQ , LA MAX , LC PEAK , and LA 90 ) were not found to be statistically correlated between measured acoustical data and HCAHPS quietness patient responses. Taken as a whole, this study provides insights into the potential relationships between hospital noise and patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1128
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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