Noise levels in Johns Hopkins Hospital

J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Dec;118(6):3629-45. doi: 10.1121/1.2118327.


This article presents the results of a noise survey at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Results include equivalent sound pressure levels (L(eq)) as a function of location, frequency, and time of day. At all locations and all times of day, the L(eq) indicate that a serious problem exists. No location is in compliance with current World Health Organization Guidelines, and a review of objective data indicates that this is true of hospitals throughout the world. Average equivalent sound levels are in the 50-60 dB(A) range for 1 min, 1/2, and 24 h averaging time periods. The spectra are generally flat over the 63-2000 Hz octave bands, with higher sound levels at lower frequencies, and a gradual roll off above 2000 Hz. Many units exhibit little if any reduction of sound levels in the nighttime. Data gathered at various hospitals over the last 45 years indicate a trend of increasing noise levels during daytime and nighttime hours. The implications of these results are significant for patients, visitors, and hospital staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Baltimore
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Data Collection
  • Health Facility Environment*
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Noise*