Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal




School of Arts and Humanities




Jonescu, E. E., Farrel, B., Ramanayaka, C. E., White, C., Costanzo, G., Delaney, L., . . . Litton, E. (2024). Mitigating intensive care unit noise: Design-led modeling solutions, calculated acoustic outcomes, and cost implications. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal. Advance online publication.


Objectives, Purpose, or Aim: The study aimed to decrease noise levels in the ICU, anticipated to have adverse effects on both patients and staff, by implementing enhancements in acoustic design. Background: Recognizing ICU noise as a significant disruptor of sleep and a potential hindrance to patient recovery, this study was conducted at a 40-bed ICU in Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Australia. Methods: A comprehensive mixed-methods approach was employed, encompassing surveys, site analysis, and acoustic measurements. Survey data highlighted the importance of patient sleep quality, emphasizing the negative impact of noise on work performance, patient connection, and job satisfaction. Room acoustics analysis revealed noise levels ranging from 60 to 90 dB(A) in the presence of patients, surpassing sleep disruption criteria. Results: Utilizing an iterative 3D design modeling process, the study simulated significant acoustic treatment upgrades. The design integrated effective acoustic treatments within patient rooms, aiming to reduce noise levels and minimize transmission to adjacent areas. Rigorous evaluation using industry-standard acoustic software highlights the design’s efficacy in reducing noise transmission in particular. Additionally, cost implications were examined, comparing standard ICU construction with acoustically treated options for new construction and refurbishment projects. Conclusions: This study provides valuable insights into design-based solutions for addressing noise-related challenges in the ICU. While the focus is on improving the acoustic environment by reducing noise levels and minimizing transmission to adjacent areas. It is important to clarify that direct measurements of patient outcomes were not conducted. The potential impact of these solutions on health outcomes, particularly sleep quality, remains a crucial aspect for consideration.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.