Noise pollution levels in the pediatric intensive care unit

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Patients and staff may experience adverse effects from exposure to noise.Object:This study assessed noise levels in the pediatric intensive care unit and evaluated family and staff opinion of noise.Design:Noise levels were recorded using a NoisePro DLX. The microphone was 1 m from the patient's head. The noise level was averaged each minute and levels above 70 and 80 dBA were recorded. The maximum, minimum, and average decibel levels were calculated and peak noise level great than 100 dBA was also recorded. A parent questionnaire concerning their evaluation of noisiness of the bedside was completed. The bedside nurse also completed a questionnaire.Results:The average maximum dB for all patients was 82.2. The average minimum dB was 50.9. The average daily bedside noise level was 62.9 dBA. The average % time where the noise level was higher than 70 dBA was 2.2%. The average percent of time that the noise level was higher than 80 dBA was 0.1%. Patients experienced an average of 115 min/d where peak noise was greater than 100 dBA. The parents and staff identified the monitors as the major contribution to noise.Conclusion:Patients experienced levels of noise greater than 80 dBA. Patients experience peak noise levels in excess of 100 dB during their pediatric intensive care unit stay.

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