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How can noise levels in hospitals be lowered?

Some of the methods examined in the study to reduce such noise included the following:

• Earplugs/earmuffs on patients (self-explanatory)

• Behavioral modifications: enforcing stricter rules among hospital staff so they are more aware of how much noise they are making. This is the “tone it down!” strategy, which entails establishing set quiet times during which the ambient light is lowered, alarms are cut down in intensity, and phones, televisions, and radios are turned off.

• Sound masking: the use of white noise machines to neutralize certain noises.

• Acoustic absorption: the use of certain materials like foam to dampen noise levels.
Not surprisingly, all four strategies to lower the noise proved effective. But surprisingly, sound masking beat out the sound-absorbing treatment.

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