NOISE POLLUTION IN A GENERAL HOSPITAL

Noise is a known environmental pollutant and health hazard. Particularly, noise pollution in a general hospital (ex: operating room, recovery room and intensive care unit) is a hazard to surgeons, anesthetists, personnel and patients. It is well documented that noise is stressful,
eliciting changes in the autonomic nervous system, impairing mental faculties and producing masking that could affect the staff and the conscious patient alike, leading to decreased work performance and increased anxiety respectively. Moreover, operating room noise can reduce the
mental efficiency and short-term memory of anesthesia residents. Therefore noise prevention needs more attention and should be a routine part of patient care. The design of a modern General Hospital should consider acoustics as one of the main factors to provide comfort to
both patients and medical staff. The acoustic environment is determined by the atmosphere of the site (external noise) as well as by the performance of elements as room dimension and destination, construction materials, surfaces and furnishings. Every possible item of sound transmission must be considered from the designer and every possible way of noise impact reduction have to be adopted. The acoustic requirements of doors, walls and ceiling
constructions must be calculated and their resulting values can be used to check and correct the presence of unwanted noise. Consideration also needs to be given to the impact of
internal services such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical plants and distribution systems like airconditioning as well as external noise generated by linear sources (road and rail traffic noise) or other point sources in the area. The paper refers to case studies carried out in some General
Hospitals in Tuscany (Italy). In figure 1 the brand new Versilia General Hospital is represented.

Autori: Falchi, Luzzi