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Katz, J. D. (2014). Noise in the operating room. Anesthesiology, 121(4), 894–898. 
Resource type: Journal Article
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000319
BibTeX citation key: Katz2014
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Categories: Health
Keywords: Hospitals, Noise, Operating Room
Creators: Katz
Collection: Anesthesiology
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"As recently as the 1960s, hospitals were famous for their quiet and serene environment. Noise restrictions were zealously enforced internally by uniformed nurses and externally by street signs around the perimeter declaring “Hospital—Quiet Zone.”

Hospitals and especially operating rooms are no longer quiet.1 In 1972, before the introduction of much of the noisy equipment now routinely used during surgical procedures, it was observed that noise levels in operating rooms frequently exceed those of a busy highway.2 The authors labeled noise as the “third pollution” along with air and water pollution. Others have described the noise in critical care areas as equivalent to the cafe- teria at noon and only slightly less noisy than in the boiler room.

More recent studies have reaffirmed the escalation of the noisy atmosphere of hospitals and operating rooms. Aver- age noise levels commonly are greater than federal limits for occupational noise exposure and frequently exceed those considered a hazard to health.

Noise levels of this intensity have wide-spread implications for healthcare workers and their patients. In the following report, we will examine the common sources and possible consequences of excessive operating room noise and suggest some remedies."

1. Grumet GW: Pandemonium in the modern hospital. N Engl J Med 1993; 328:433–7

2. Shapiro RA, Berland T: Noise in the operating room. N Engl J Med 1972; 287:1236–8

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