Ouch, My Ears Hurt! – Patients Complain of Hospital Noise

Ouch, My Ears Hurt! – Patients Complain of Hospital Noise

In 2012, Medicare began using patient satisfaction surveys to determine hospital reimbursement. Patients often give the lowest ratings to noise levels during their stay – for good reason! Studies show that elevated noise levels affect sleep, blood pressure, wound healing, and pain management. Some noise reduction strategies are simple, such as closing doors, implementing quiet hours, and reducing medical alarms in the patients’ rooms. For hospitals looking to take their noise control to the next level, an investment of $50,000 in architectural noise control products can result in $150,000 of increased Medicare reimbursements over three years.

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OSHA Celebrates 50 Years in 2020

OSHA Celebrates 50 Years in 2020

In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) into law. OSHA was created to ensure safe working conditions for the nation’s blue-collar workforce. OSHA’s early protections included asbestos, lead, and carcinogens. In the 1980s, noise exposure was included in the list. Today, employers are required to provide hearing protection to their workers if noise exposure is above the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dBA for an 8-hour workday. An increase of just 5 dBA to 95 dBA lowers the permissible exposure time to just 4 hours. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has more strict recommendations such as 85 dBA for an 8-hour day, but employers are not required by law to follow them. Many common construction tools operate at above the recommended levels for both OSHA and NIOSH (see below image via CDC).