Despite the importance of sleep for recovery, hospital noise may put patients at risk for sleep loss and its associated negative effects. Objectively measured hospital noise can range as high as 67 dB inthe intensive care unit to 42 dB in surgical wards, far from the World Health Organization (WHO) international recommendations of 30 dB for patient rooms.
Although almost half of Medicare patients report that their hospital rooms were not quiet at night, data to objectively characterize noise levels and sleep in hospitalized adults in medical wards are limited.
The study was conducted at the University of Chicago. One of it’s authors, Vineet Arora, MD noted in an interview with Reuters Health, “The hospital environment is certainly not a restful environment…One of the most common complaints that patients will report is that they had a difficult night sleeping. It could be part of a cycle of: you’re sick, you get bad sleep, and you’re not able to get better as quickly,”