Noise and acoustics have a huge impact on patients in a healthcare setting. There has been a huge amount of research on how noise disrupts sleep, affects health and wellbeing, and decreases productivity.
The design of healthcare premises is generally a factor contributing to poor acoustics. To resolve this, a sound masking solution can help solve noise and privacy issues, providing patients and healthcare employees with a quieter, more confidential and healthier environment.
Noise and Health
Unwanted noise has been proven to cause peaks in blood pressure and high stress levels. For patients that are in hospital or hospices for a long period of time, changes in their blood pressure and stress levels can have a negative impact on their healing time. In fact, there have been studies to suggest that sound masking and reduction of noise in the environment can speed up the recovery process.
Likewise, doctors, nurses and healthcare staff already have at times a high stress job; adding another stressor to their daily working life could have a huge impact on their wellbeing.
Noise and Productivity
Much like in an office environment, noise has a huge effect on a person’s productivity. Noise disruptions can affect concentration, cause fatigue and reduce efficiency.
For healthcare workers, keeping a high level of concentration is imperative for accurate research and to provide the high level of care required. For them to be able to complete their job efficiently, unwanted distractions like noise need to be reduced and if possible, eliminated.
Noise and Sleep
Being exposed to high levels of noise throughout the day can affect our sleeping patterns. Sleep deprivation weakens the immune systems, hinders the body’s ability to generate new cells and can decrease pain tolerance. Sleep is imperative for patients to be able to heal properly and quickly, any disruptions to their sleeping pattern can have a negative impact on their healing process and slow it down.
As well as the patients, healthcare professionals need a good night’s (or day’s) sleep to be able to work efficiently the next day. Any disruptions to this can cause them to be fatigued throughout the day and lack the concentration they need to complete their jobs.
Noise and Privacy
Privacy between patients and their doctor is of upmost importance. Most of us have been in the position where we have been sat in the waiting room have overheard everything that is being said between the receptionist and patient.
Retaining a level of speech privacy is imperative in a healthcare environment, from patient waiting rooms, mental health facilities, doctors’ offices and hospitals. Conversations are often overheard between the healthcare professional and visitors and patients.
When attempting to resolve acoustic problems, many make the mistake that ‘silence is key’. Much like with temperature, humidity, and lighting, the comfort zone for the level of noise is not zero. The level of noise in an environment should be at the ideal ambient noise level; too loud and it can become tiring and irritating, too low and conversations can be easily heard, and sudden noises make more of an impact.
Sound masking is an effective method that, when installed correctly, can help reduce all these issues associated with noise in a healthcare setting keeping an ambient background noise level.
How can Sound Masking Help?
Protecting patient privacy is critical in healthcare facilities including hospitals, GP surgeries, medical offices and mental health facilities. Acoustics and sound privacy are often overlooked in open floor plan areas, patient rooms and clinics – where sound can easily travel over walls and through glass.
Sound masking is easily installed into almost any architectural concept for both new and existing premises. Sound masking makes noises and conversations more difficult, if not impossible, to hear or understand. The technology works by injecting a layer of sound into the environment that only produces the noise found in the human voice. Unlike its predecessor white noise, sound masking does not contain the frequencies that can be irritating and distracting to the human ear.
The sound projected by sound masking is typically introduced through speakers installed in or above the ceiling. These emitters are strategically placed around the treated area to create a completely immersive sound, providing a comfortable and private space.
Sound masking has been proven to decrease distractions, enhance wellbeing, increase productivity and the overall comfort of the treated space.
Remark Group have worked with a variety of different clients with their sound masking needs, including healthcare facilities and the public sector. You can find out more on our sound masking solutions here or get in touch today to discuss your needs further with our specialist team.