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Title: The sound environment in critical care
Author: Xie, Hui
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6287
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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It has been widely accepted that noise levels in hospitals are typically higher than the guidelines. This research aims to systematically investigate the sound field in critical care environment, develop the prediction models, and explore the acoustic effects on patients and staff. The Critical Care Units at two local NHS hospitals have been selected for case studies. Three core categories with plenty of interactions were identified by means of grounded theory for the acoustic environment, namely 'time-dependant sounds', 'role-dependant people' and 'departmental-dependant space', and the improvement strategies are limited but possible. Through a series of acoustic measurement, a diffuse field could be approximately assumed in the single-bed and multi-bed wards. The sound levels measured in the wards for each night are in excess of the WHO guided values by at least 20d8A. For both wards and U-shaped long corridor, if the relevant simulation parameters were set up appropriately, the agreement between measured and simulated RT as well as SPL is satisfactory, suggesting the feasibility of computer simulation for such spaces. A database comprised of quadratic equations was established with a good accuracy (±2.5d8) to predict the sound propagation along the U-shaped long space applicable to various geometric sizes. An effective observation method was designed for noise behaviour in the healthcare environment. Amongst the observed noise sources, talking was identified with the largest number of occurrences, shortest interval and the longest duration, followed by the monitor's alarm. Lognormal distribution was determined as the most appropriate statistical distribution for noise behaviours. Finally, an agent-based acoustic model was developed to integrate noise behaviours with the acoustic parameters. It is capable of replicating the complex and dynamic acoustic environment (±2dBA) as well as conducting what-if analysis. Two noise maps were produced to determine the noise sensitive areas, which would be useful to assist the decision making upon noise actions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available