Hospital noise and occupant response

Erica Ryherd, Selen Okcu, Timothy Hsu, Arun Mahapatra

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Hospitals should be conducive to patient recovery and safety as well as employee health and productivity. A variety of diverse noise sources populate hospitals such as HVAC systems, occupant sounds, alarms, and medical equipment. There is strong and growing evidence of the negative impacts of a poor hospital acoustic environment. For example, patient sleep disruption, cardiovascular arousal, increased incidence of rehospitalization, and extended hospital stay have been linked to hospital acoustics. There is also evidence that staff mental efficiency, short-term memory, stress, burn-out, and hearing loss are related to the acoustic environment. The Hospital Acoustics Research Team (HART) is a unique collaboration of specialists in engineering, architecture, psychology, medicine, and nursing that is working to evaluate the modern hospital acoustic environment and the associated psycho-physiological responses of occupants. Case studies and findings from this body of work will be discussed. The results are advancing the understanding how various aspects of the acoustic environment impact occupants, how to best measure and quantify these aspects, and how to improve the hospital acoustic environment to make hospitals healthier for occupants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalASHRAE Transactions
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2011 ASHRAE Winter Conference - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 29 2011Feb 2 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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