What hath night to do with sleep: Noise levels in the ICU: Preliminary findings


Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Posterpeer-review


Background: Noise is frequently attributed to sleep disturbance, particularly in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where noise emanates from a plethora of sources. As a result, ICU patients’ experience fragmented sleep, which deleteriously effects their physiological recovery, neurocognitive function, and increases morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stipulated that noise levels within clinical environments should not exceed 40 dB(A) overnight in order to reduce sleep disturbance; however this is rarely achieved by ICU's worldwide. Objective: The aims of this study were to investigate the noise levels within ICU and how this potentially impacts on patients’ sleep. Methods: A descriptive study design was utilised to monitor the noise levels (dB(A)) in the ICU over two nights between 2200–0700 hours. Noise levels were recorded via Extech (SDL600) sound meters at 5 second epochs. Sound meters were randomly allocated and positioned at a height of 155 cm behind the patients’ bed. Results: The findings demonstrated that noise levels exceeded WHO recommendations by 37%, with a mean sound level overnight of 54.89 dB(A) (S.D. = +/− 6.08). Recorded noise levels within the ICU ranged between 41.2 and 96.1 dB(A), with noise escalations exceeding 70 dB(A) occurring 6.78 times per hour. Conclusion: Strategies needs to be implemented to reduce the impact of staff generated noise in order to support rest amongst ICU patients.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Society of Evidence-Based Healthcare Conference 2014 - NTUH International Convention Center, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 6 Nov 20149 Nov 2014


ConferenceInternational Society of Evidence-Based Healthcare Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleISEHC 2014
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


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