Hola a todos, my dear friends.

Noise maybe is something invisible in the ICU. And although we have spoken of it here or here, I have the feeling of that we have last of tiptoe, almost without making noise.

We are not aware of how alarms affects our patients, or how professionals are exposed in our day to day to this stressor.

In the Humanization plan of the ICU of Community of Madrid, the chapter of Humanized infrastructure addresses this issue and even speaks of the rules recommended by the WHO, with control of noise below 35 dB and accepting an operating noise up to 45 DB.“The WHO recommends a level of noise of 30 decibels. According to the norm UNE 100713:2005 the maximum pressure sound for ICU is of 35 dB. We must maintain this level, especially during the hours of rest, because noise affects the patient, influencing in the emotional state and the quality of sleep can be very affected. An increase of 10dB to these levels of maximum noise environmental is admitted to allow the communication and the learning. I.e. a maximum noise level operating of 45 DB.

This level of noise requires a conscious effort to control the level of voice over professionals.

The noise generated in the unit can be internal (generated by the activity that takes place every day), or outside (which comes out of the unit).

We can combat noise using materials that isolate acoustically the unit, as special materials, ceilings, soils and enclosures that absorb the noise and isolated it, because we should compliance this according to the norm UNE in 12354, parts 1, 2 and 3. “Paragraph 3.1.3 of the DB HR

On the other hand, we can fight against the internal noise replacing acoustic alarms by luminous, or using automatic glass doors, phones in vibration, noise meters, moderating the tone of the talks and tone of mobiles, moderating the volume of television, radio and audio, avoiding shocks, sudden noises and slamming doors, not dragging furniture, using suitable footwear to avoid the noise so annoying that causes the friction of the gums with the pavement”.

All of you who have any device of noise detection, would have observed that keep those 35 dB is impossible yet still in absolute silence .Honestly, I believe WHO is very optimist and we follow a guidelines that hs little to do with reality, and so I think we should define what noise is.

We have asked several experts to explain it to us, and also their technologies to learn what really matters: the soundscape of each IC-HU.

Meanwhile, an image is worth more than thousand words: it´s necessary to know what do and how, to make the corresponding actions of improvement. This is the soundscape of a Spanish IC-HU a month ago: during the day, it works around the 58 dB, by night about 54 DB. Look at the marked peaks of noise, you can get your own conclusions: what happens to those hours in this ICU?.

Really, so much to think, . If we consciously noise, we can improve the quality of life for everyone: patients, families and professionals. And that is priceless.

Happy Friday,