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White, B. L., & Zomorodi, M. (2017). Perceived and actual noise levels in critical care units. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 38, 18–23. 
Resource type: Journal Article
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2016.06.004
BibTeX citation key: White2017
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Categories: Health
Keywords: Hospitals, Noise
Creators: White, Zomorodi
Publisher: Elsevier
Collection: Intensive and Critical Care Nursing
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To compare the noise levels perceived by critical care nurses in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to actual noise levels in the ICU.


Following a pilot study (n = 18) and revision of the survey tool, a random sample of nurses were surveyed twice in a 3-day period (n = 108). Nurses perception of noise was compared to the actual sound pressure level using descriptive statistics.

Major Results

Nurses perceived the ICUs to be noisier than the actual values. The ICU was louder than the recommended noise level for resotrative sleep. This finding raises the question of how we can assist nurses to reduce what they perceive to be a loud environment.


Future work is needed to develop interventions specifically for nurses to raise awareness of noise in the ICU and to provide them with skills to assist in noise reduction.

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