Determination of Noise Level and Its Sources in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal Ward

Document Type : Original Article


1 Research Center of Health, School of Health, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran

2 Pediatrics Growth Disorders Research Center, 17 Shahrivar Hospital, School of Medicine, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran


Background: In Neonatal intensive care units (NICU) different sound intensities and frequencies are produced from different sources, which may exert undesirable physiological effects on the infants. The aim of this study was to determine the noise level and its sources in the NICU and neonatal ward of Al-Zahra Hospital of Rasht, Iran.
Methods: In this descriptive cross-sectional study, the intensity of the sounds generated by the internal and external sources in the NICU and neonatal ward was measured using a sound level meter device. The sound produced by each of the sources was individually calculated. Data were analyzed performing descriptive and analytical statistics, using SPSS version 19.
Results: The mean noise levels in six rooms and a hallway during morning, afternoon and night shifts with the electromechanical devices turned on were 61.67±4.5, 61.32±4.32 and 60.71±4.56 dB, respectively. Moreover, with the devices tuned off the mean noise levels during morning, afternoon and evening shifts were 64.97±2.6, 60.6±1.29 and 57.91±4.73 dB, respectively. The differences between the mean noise levels in the neonatal wards (standard noise level=45 dB) during each shift with the electromechanical devices turned on and off were statistically significant (P=0.002 and P<0.05, respectively). Phone ring tones in a one meter distance and neonatal crying registered the highest values (85 and 81 dB, respectively).
Conclusion: According to the obtained results, the highest noise levels were generated by the electromechanical devices inside the NICU and neonatal ward, and there were no significant differences in the noise level with the devices turned on and off. Moreover, personnel’s noise-generating behaviors were the main sources of noise. Therefore, it seems that providing educational preparation for the staff can diminish the ambient noise level.


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