Measured levels of hospital noise before, during, and after renovation of a hospital wing, and a survey of resulting patient perception

Cassandra H. Wiese, Lily M. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Acoustic conditions in hospitals can negatively influence a patient's physical and psychological health. This paper reports on noise levels measured before, during, and after renovation of a hospital wing in an Omaha, Nebraska, facility that regularly receives unsatisfactory noise scores on patient satisfaction surveys. Sound pressure levels were logged every 10 seconds over four-day periods in three different locations: at the nurses' station, in the hallway, and in a nearby patient's room. The resulting data have been analyzed in terms of A-weighted equivalent sound levels (L Aeq) as well as various exceedance levels (L n). Results indicate that sound levels did not change much due to the renovation, due to a reduction in the scope of the renovation after the start of this project. The noise levels measured did regularly exceed currently recommended guidelines for hospital noise, though. A concurrent subjective survey on patient perception of hospital noise was conducted in the hospital wing during and after the renovation. Results from that survey show that patients in this hospital wing were most concerned with noise that originates from within their room, often linked to medical equipment or their roommate. The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems ranked quite low among noise sources of concern at this facility. Based on the survey results, it does not seem that adding absorptive materials to the hallway or nearby nurses' stations would reduce noise from the sources considered most bothersome by the patients in this case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASHRAE Transactions
Number of pages8
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 ASHRAE Winter Conference - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 29 2011Feb 2 2011


Other2011 ASHRAE Winter Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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