Patient Satisfaction Point of Care

Major Side Effects of High Hospital Noise Volumes

From audible medical equipment alarms to visitors who use waiting areas as their personal conference rooms, hospitals can get pretty noisy. Besides disrupting sleep and bothering patients, high hospital noise volumes can also cause serious unintended consequences for patients and staff.

Multiple studies have shown that hospital noise levels can have negative physical and psychological effects on patients, ranging from a negative influence on recovery time to increased stress levels and blood pressure, and even decreased confidence in caregiver competence. One team of European researchers found that chronic noise levels in hospitals increased the risk of patient heart attack by up to 75%.

Patients aren’t the only ones suffering, either. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who work in noisy environments day in and day out have been found to suffer from exhaustion, burnout, and depression.

Even simple, everyday activities can be affected by uncontrolled hospital noise.

Focusing on a task or complex analysis? Mental activities, notably those that require a lot of working memory, tend to be especially noise sensitive, and those irritating beeps and loud conversations can break concentration and lead to costly medication errors.

And if you’re trying to talk to a patient over a constant cacophony of noises you may find yourself committing a HIPAA violation just raising your voice to be heard. Patients may also be less likely to disclose necessary medical information if they’re concerned about being overheard while talking in a noisy environment.

If all of that isn’t enough to make you reconsider how you manage volume levels, noise is consistently given the worst ratings on patient surveys, affecting HCAHPS scores and jeopardizing your Medicare reimbursements.

Looking to reduce high-volume issues in your hospital or facility? Check out MarketLab’s comprehensive line of patient satisfaction and noise management products with solutions ranging from earplugs and fans to signs and badges that flash colors when volume levels are too high.

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