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Sound Power Levels of Typical Medical Equipment in Intensive Care Units

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This study systematically determined the sound power levels for the alarms of single medical equipment in Intensive Care Units (ICU), and investigated the sound environment with multiple pieces of equipment to reflect various healthcare scenarios. The measurements were made for six types of potentially noisy equipment according to ISO 3743-1, in a typical single-bed ward. It has been shown that the majority of alarms radiated from ICU equipment are dominated by middle and high frequency sounds, particularly the latter. The humidifier generates the highest sound power level, followed by the ventilator and the pump's infusion alarm, and the equipment volume setting is only effective for the monitor alarm. The length of all alarm signals is normally around 1 second, while the time interval is more varied. When multiple pieces of equipment are alarming simultaneously, the equivalent sound pressure levels of three representative scenarios considerably exceed the WHO guideline values. The instantaneous peak sound level could be more than 80dBA in the worst acoustic scenario. It is expected that such a basic equipment acoustic database would be relevant to a range of acoustic research and practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2012

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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