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Hospital Room Noise Levels Comparable To Chainsaw

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A recent report suggests that noise levels in hospital rooms may sometimes spike to nearly that of a chainsaw.

The report from the University of Chicago is not surprising because hospital rooms are commonly thought to be quite loud but in the report – based on information from 100 adult patients – it was found that noise levels in patient rooms at night tended to be lower than during the day, but almost always exceeded recommendations for average and maximum noise level.

It is commonly felt that noise in hospital rooms generally shouldn’t get above 30 to 40 decibels. In the report, researchers found rooms close to 50 decibels, and sometimes spikes as high as 80 decibels – that is where the comparison with a chainsaw came in.

Much of the extra noise at night was due to talking between doctors and nurses, but the loudest interruptions were likely from alarms and intercoms.

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