Objective: Our objective was to compare the noise levels in 4 Phoenix-area emergency departments with published safety and comfort standards for noise levels.
Methods: A device used to record sound levels was placed in the nurses' station of 4 Phoenix-area emergency departments for brief periods. Readings were compared with published safety and comfort standards.
Results: Noise levels measured in the 4 emergency departments were higher than levels at which one can work comfortably. All the noise levels measured approached or exceeded levels that can cause feelings of annoyance ad other negative effects in individuals.
Discussion: A comparison of actual noise levels in 4 local emergency departments with published safety and comfort standards found that 100% of the tested departments were too noisy. Anyone who spends any time exposed to this level of noise is subject to deleterious physical and psychological effects.