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Noise is all around there is rarely absent of noise Patients who are admitted to the hospital have described noise as constant and have many restless days and nights during their inpatient stay Does noise effect patient recovery What can the nurse to help promote noise reduction Florence Nightingale believed that unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care which can be inflicted either on sick or on well Nightingale 1898 Noise is generally defined as unwanted sound or sound without value As such hospital noise is implicated in negative health effects documented by many research studies published over the last 30 years Pope 2010 Unfortunately noise levels within the hospital environment have substantially increased over the past decades The Environmental Protection Agency EPA recommends that hospital sound levels should not exceed 45 dB whereas The World Health Organization WHO recommends that hospital sounds levels should not exceed 30 dBwhisper and peaks should be less than 40 dB library conversation Low level of noise is described as 50-60 decibels frequent episodic high-level noise is described as 80-90 decibels Although loud noise is disturbing noise is not required to always be loud or constant to be considered interrupting or annoying Intermittent noise or noise that interrupts the patients comfort levels during anytime of the day may be described disturbing or annoying noise Furthermore patients may hear only regular or consistent low noise levels in small bouts but because of the constant reminders on a regular basis it then becomes described as constant and annoying noise There are numerous documented studies published which have proven when nurses and patients are constantly exposed to high levels of noise or constant repetitive low levels of noise they are at greater risks for having adverse effects from the noise exposure Adverse effects are described as both physiologic and psychological Physiologic effects such as hearing loss Morrison 2003
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