Why Hospital Noise Control is Good for Our Health


With noise from beeping machines, intercoms, arriving ambulances, visitors and staff —hospitals are not usually the most peaceful place to recover.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted the vital role that sleep plays in medical recovery and recommends that sound levels should not exceed 35 decibels (dB) — the volume of a loud whisper — for hospitals, recovery rooms and treatment centers.

Research from WHO highlights how excessive noise can have a detrimental impact on vulnerable patients such as infants, young children, the elderly, those with high blood pressure, hearing impairments, mental health challenges and those who are blind.

“Since patients have less ability to cope with stress, levels should not exceed 35dB in most rooms where patients are being treated or observed. Attention should also be given to the sound levels in intensive care units and operating rooms,” says WHO.

We need to look at new ways of improving hospitals to maximize recovery and healing — reducing hospital noise could be just what the doctor ordered.

Why does reducing hospital noise levels matter?

Sound is critically important in healthcare settings, and not just for patients. According to the Centre for Health Design, noise levels can impact patient satisfaction and have a negative effect on both patients and staff, including:

  • Sleep quality/quantity
  • Pain perception
  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rates
  • Staff exhaustion and burnout
  • Lack of concentration
  • Difficulty in communication, possibly leading to errors
  • Lack of privacy (HIPAA)

The challenge of hospital acoustics

To maximize patient satisfaction and wellbeing, hospitals need to invest in better noise control. However, hospitals and health centers require surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect. This often means hard, shiny surfaces that bounce reverberating noise around corridors and rooms.

Baylor Medical Center

How Knauf Insulation can help reduce noise in hospitals

Knauf Insulation has noise control solutions for every area of the hospital, from the basement to partition walls, ceilings and flooring, HVAC ducts and more. From Baylor Medical Center in Texas, to the Haga Hospital in The Netherlands, Knauf has worked closely with hospitals around the world to provide sound insulation.

Knauf Insulation products also support healthy indoor air quality, something that is critical in a healthcare setting. Knauf Insulation is verified to be formaldehyde-free, has met stringent chemical emissions standards to achieve GREENGUARD Gold, and was the first building material manufacturer to claim Red List Free.


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