Why Are Nurses So Loud?

In the ED, the noise levels are much higher than they should be. What is contributing to the increase in noise? More nurses, more alarms, longer shifts. Fortunately, there are several solutions to reduce the noise. Here are three. 1. Offer ear plugs. 2. Offer more ear pieces.

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ED noise levels are higher than they should be

The noise levels in the emergency department (ED) are often high and can negatively affect both patients and workers. In addition to limiting patient comfort and productivity, noise levels in the ED may also hinder communication and decision making. To address this concern, this study quantified ambient noise levels in the ED and compared the noise levels to the noise levels in other types of hospitals.

The sound levels in the ED were measured using a multi-range sound level meter, which was calibrated to regulatory standards. The data were then correlated with subjective ratings of nurses. The study concluded that the noise levels in the ED were generally below 70 decibels, which is the level of normal conversation at a distance of 3-5 feet. Nevertheless, the study noted that noise levels during patient care might be higher than the noise levels in non-patient care areas.

More nurses in a room

Generally, more nurses in a room are louder than one nurse in a quiet room. This may be because more nurses are giving medication or checking on patients. Another possible reason is that more sick patients are present in the room. However, there are some things that hospital staff can do to minimize the noise, such as prioritizing quiet times.

In a study of 100 adult patients, noise levels were generally higher during the day than they were during the night. The noise level in individual rooms usually exceeded the maximum recommended by the WHO. During the day, the noise level was about 35 dB(A), and at night, the noise level was around 30 dB(A). Higher levels of noise have negative effects on the patient’s quality of sleep.

More alarms

The noise level in hospital wards has increased in recent years. According to research from Johns Hopkins Hospital, wards today are ten decibels louder than they were in the 1960s. The amount of noise emanating from intensive care units can rival the sound of a heavy lorry or a revving motorbike. Alarms that sound on patient monitors also have high decibel levels.

The loud noise caused by these alarms may be harmful for patients. It may reduce their ability to sleep and can even lead to death. It can cause patients to become anxious and may result in falls.

Longer shifts

Nurses are required to stay focused while at work, which can be challenging for them if they are exhausted and sleep-deprived. Consequently, the long shifts they work can cause them to lose concentration, disrupting their patient care. Fortunately, a potential solution was developed during a recent study. It involved nurses working on a cycle that included two morning shifts, two afternoon shifts, and one night shift.

Day shifts at hospitals are typically 12 hours long. This means that nurses must clock in at 6:45 in the morning and clock out at 7 p.m., making it nearly impossible to sleep in such an environment. Also, nurses working in a hospital environment may also have to face numerous other duties, such as childcare.


The healthcare industry has historically been slow to respond to the issue of sound. A study by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that seventy-two to ninety-nine percent of all alarms in hospitals were false. This is alarming news, considering that the average hospital patient is exposed to over 350 false alarms each day.

The study also found that the amount of noise a nurse hears in an emergency department correlates with years of experience. However, nurses who have less experience in emergency departments generally perceive noise levels as higher than those of more experienced nurses. The study also collected responses from nurses on the impact noise has on their work environment and cognitive functioning. While some nurses stated that noise level in the emergency department never affected their cognitive functioning, others reported that noise levels had a negative impact on their ability to work.