Noise levels and noise sources in acute care hospital wards

D. J. MacKenzie, L. G U Galbrun

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)


    Noise in hospital wards has the potential to slow down the recovery of patients. A comprehensive and systematic analysis of noise levels and noise sources has been carried out in two intensive care units and one high dependency unit in two Edinburgh hospitals (UK). Noise levels LAeq,1min and LAFmax were measured at 1 minute intervals for 24 hour periods, and noise sources responsible for LAFmax were identified. High noise levels were found in the three wards, the lowest LAeq,1min being measured in the modern ward tested, where an acoustic ceiling was present. A substantial number of noise sources have been observed and analysed statistically, many of which had never been identified by previous research. It was found that 34% of these are totally avoidable and 28% are partially avoidable. Noise control solutions are presented, with practical solutions affecting 48% of the noise sources, and staff education affecting 14% of the sources. Practical application: The analysis and classification of noise sources obtained has lead to the identification and presentation of practical noise control solutions, some of which can be implemented at the design stage. This is of direct relevance to building services engineers who play a role in the design of hospital wards, and can therefore use this information. It can also be noted that average and maximum noise levels measured in this study could form the basis for the development of noise guidelines in intensive care units and high dependency units, as current limits do not appear to be appropriate for such spaces. © The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 2007.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-131
    Number of pages15
    JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    Dive into the research topics of 'Noise levels and noise sources in acute care hospital wards'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this