Great Article in the NY Times:

“…Ask any person who has ever been hospitalized or stayed at the bedside of a loved one, and most will agree that hospitals are busy, noisy places. Patients have criticized the clatter for years, but their complaints have largely been ignored because hospital administrators, doctors, nurses and other staff have believed that a quiet environment is less critical for patient care than the alerts from the multitude of alarms, whistles and buzzers and the information garnered from frequent patient checks.

Over the last few years, however, that attitude has been gradually changing, thanks to a greater focus on patients, as well as new policies linking hospital reimbursement to patient satisfaction.

What patients endure, it turns out, borders occasionally on deafening. A study this year from the University of Chicago found that average noise levels in a hospital room easily exceeded the 30 decibels, slightly louder than a whisper, recommended by the World Health Organization, and peak noise levels sometimes approached the level of a chain saw. Not surprisingly, patients in the loudest rooms suffered most, losing as much as an hour or more of sleep a night compared with those in the quietest rooms. And for every hour of sleep lost, the patients’ blood pressure increased by as much as six points…”

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