Volume 121, Issue 4, April 2007
Index of content:
- NOISE: ITS EFFECTS AND CONTROL 
121(2007); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2642309View Description Hide Description
While hospitals are generally noisy environments, nowhere is the pandemonium greater than in an emergency department, where there is constant flow of patients, doctors, nurses, and moving equipment. In this noise study we collected measurements throughout the adult emergency department of Johns Hopkins Hospital, the top ranked hospital in the U.S. for 16 years running. The equivalent sound pressure level throughout the emergency department is about (A) higher than that measured previously at a variety of in-patient units of the same hospital. Within the emergency department the triage area at the entrance to the department has the highest , ranging from 65 to (A). Sound levels in the emergency department are sufficiently high [on average between 61 and (A)] to raise concerns regarding the communication of speech without errors—an important issue everywhere in a hospital and a critical issue in emergency departments because doctors and nurses frequently need to work at an urgent pace and to rely on oral communication.
121(2007); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2535507View Description Hide Description
The social context of noise exposure is a codeterminant of noise annoyance. The present study shows that fairness of the exposure procedure (sound management) can be used as an instrument to reduce noise annoyance. In a laboratory experiment participants are exposed to aircraftsound of different sound pressure level (SPL: 50 vs )—which is experienced as noise—while they work on a reading task. The exposure procedure (fair versus neutral) is modeled in line with findings from social justice theory. In the fair condition, participants can voice their preference for a certain sound sample, although they cannot deduce whether their preference is granted. In the neutral condition, participants are not asked to voice their preference. Results show the predicted interaction effect of sound pressure level and procedure on annoyance: Annoyance ratings are significantly lower in the fair condition than in the neutral condition, but this effect is found only in the condition. When the SPL is considerably disturbing, fair procedures reduce noise annoyance. Consequences of the reported findings for both theory and practice are discussed.