Acoustic Design in Healthcare Environment
Hospitals are the go-to places for regaining normal health. However, the quality of rest patients get in hospitals is dwindling due to the acoustic design of healthcare facilities, especially hospitals. Impact sounds and reverberations are getting in the way of quality rest and the return to good health.
Acoustic design in healthcare sector of every nation seeks to ensure that there's adequate sound absorption, allows less noise, and proper sound reflection for ease of communication. However, hospitals are faced with the dilemma of using acoustic materials that don't agree with disinfectants or those that do but compound their acoustic problems.
This article will help hospitals and other healthcare establishments choose the right acoustic materials; that absorb adequate sound waves and can be cleaned with disinfectants.
What's a Hospital's Acoustic Like?
Acoustics aren't usually a fore consideration in many hospitals. The well-being and return to wellness of the patients come first, but everyone easily forgets that stress, which can be caused by noise, is a major cause of patients' presence in hospitals.
A visit to some hospitals will show you that the architectural design only caters to ventilation and efficient use of space. While ventilation helps with acoustics, it's usually not enough. Patient wards, especially the ones with open plan design seem to be good, but some patients are unable to sleep because of the noise from other patients, who may be in some form of agony.
Some patients in enclosed wards can hear sounds that carry from other parts of the hospital, stopping them from getting that rest they need.
Acoustic design in healthcare sector ensure that communication is possible. It doesn't seek to ensure sound waves are adequately absorbed. This is due to the hard floor, walls, and ceiling surfaces in the hospitals.
Hospitals can be said to be the easiest place to catch an infection since different people with different medical conditions are present there. Hence, the need to keep the environment clean and sterile.
Hard surfaces that are easy to clean, and can withstand the harshness of disinfectants are mistakenly preferred by many instead of acoustic materials that can absorb sound waves, and reduce reverberation.
Importance of Acoustic design in Healthcare sector
There are times when a visit to the Hospital helps you to understand the value of quality sleep, and one of the biggest threats to getting a good rest is noise. Patients lying on their hospital beds, hoping to sleep and get better when they wake, may not get the desired result due to the surrounding noise in the hospital.
We can equate the importance of sleep to a human's well-being to the importance of a hospital's acoustics to the quality of rest patients, and workers get while there. The importance of acoustics in a hospital is evident in two major ways.
Rest is an important part of every human's day, whether they're the patient or the caregiver. With good rest, blood pressure can return to normal, stress is removed, and good health soon comes back to an ailing person. However, poor acoustic design in healthcare sector can jeopardize all of these as unwanted sounds from the lobby or the next ward can easily carry into a patient's ward and disrupt their rest.
Quality rest is important for both patients and health workers. When health workers have to take some rest, but can't seem to do so because of the noise in the hospital, they're soon in a state of health that can't cater to the needs of the patients.
After some good rest, energy levels are high, and motivation is on the rise, especially for health workers. Hospital acoustics can help health workers get better sleep, no matter how short, to improve their productivity. They become more alert to machines' sounds and patients' calls.
In addition, patients get to leave the hospital faster, creating space for other patients to receive adequate healthcare.
Limiting Factors for Acoustic materials Adoption in Healthcare
Acoustic materials are meant to help make sound propagate and deliver better in an environment or enclosure. However, in hospitals and some other healthcare facilities, adopting acoustic materials that perform these functions can be tricky mainly due to the nature of the environment.
Some of the reasons it is difficult for healthcare facilities to adopt good acoustic materials for their building include:
Issues with Cleaning
A hospital should be the cleanest place anyone can be, but it isn't. It is one of the places one can easily contract diseases and carry pathogens without knowing due to the population of sick people in that enclosure.
The presence of many pathogens makes it necessary for hospitals to be constantly cleaned with disinfectants; however, there are limited acoustic materials that can withstand the harshness of disinfectants used for cleaning in hospitals. It is for this reason that hospitals adopt hard surfaces that are repellent to moisture for their ceilings, walls, and floors. This may be a serious limiting factor for the implementation of acoustic design in healthcare sector.
Pathogen Growth Prevention
Diseases start from the growth of pathogens, and in healthcare establishments, such as hospitals and medical laboratories, there are abundant pathogens. The growth of these pathogens has to be prevented; else, it spreads fast due to the population that hospitals hold per day.
To discourage the growth of these pathogens, inert surfaces where these pathogens won't thrive and where they can be easily spotted are used on hospital walls, floors, and ceilings.
The solution to the Healthcare Acoustics Problem
After so many years, hospitals can now use acoustic materials that help to reduce noise and aid restful sleep for patients and workers. These acoustic materials are available as ceilings that can be cleaned using disinfectants, and they inhibit the growth of some bacteria. They are;
A false ceiling material that is fire-resistant and safe to clean with common disinfectants. It is suitable for use in different hospital areas, including laboratories, wards, Class 1 MRI and Imaging Rooms, Pharmacies, Waiting areas, Lobby, and other rooms.
A fire-resistant and anti-mold and mildew ceiling with acoustical properties. It is suitable for use in restricted and semi-restricted areas of hospitals. It is durable and has cleanable surfaces.
Poor acoustic design in healthcare establishments, including hospitals, is a result of limited acoustic material options that can withstand constant cleaning. However, Halcyon Healthcare Acoustical Ceiling and Sonata Healthcare Acoustical Ceiling are the perfect solutions to hospitals' acoustical problems.