Good acoustic design of buildings is becoming increasingly important, due to the repercussions it has on people’s well-being and health. This reason takes even more weight when it comes to health centers.
Hospitals are very complex buildings with very specific technical requirements. In today’s post, we are going to discuss the importance of acoustics in hospital design and the criteria to follow to achieve an appropriate environment in terms of noise.
ACOUSTIC QUALITY AS A BENEFIT TO HEALTH
When we consider acoustics in hospital design, it is interesting to think not only about the interior sound quality but also about the impact of sound on the exterior environment closest to the building, since the acoustic characteristics of the urban environment must also be considered and evaluated.
If we apply correct acoustic criteria in the hospital space planning design, we can achieve improvements at different levels.
Improving acoustic quality has been proven to have positive effects on professionals and patients. An adequate sound environment contributes to the decrease in blood pressure, as well as the reduction of pain medication intake of hospital patients while improving the stress level of all occupants of the building.
Sleep quality is also affected, improving considerably by decreasing the sound level in the rooms. Improvements have even been found in school performance, tachycardia or the decrease in premature babies, by improving the acoustic conditions of health centers.
All these aspects positively influence the patients’ feeling of security and general well-being since, having a quieter stay, they feel more comfortable and have easier communication with medical personnel.
In addition, a more pleasant stay translates into a faster recovery for patients, which reduces the time spent in the hospital. This has advantages from a curative point of view and also helps the financial sustainability of the hospital.
ACOUSTICS AS A DESIGN CRITERIA FOR HOSPITALS
Within hospitals, hospital designers & planners have very different areas in terms of the type of occupants and their use of space. For this reason, we will treat the acoustic requirements of each area of the health centers separately.
ACCESS AND CIRCULATION
The access and distribution areas in hospitals are the most open and exposed to the public. Despite this, they should be welcoming and relaxing environments where patients, medical staff and visitors can have relaxed conversations.
The first impression that a hospital offers is very important in the feeling that the patient or professional will receive throughout their stay. Accessing the center through a diaphanous space, well lit and with a moderate sound environment helps to keep your mood in good condition.
From an acoustic point of view, it is important to plan sound-absorbing surfaces on the ceiling and on the walls, so that the voice does not bounce excessively and uncomfortable echoes are generated, increasing the acoustic level.
Let’s think that a hospital is a building where a considerable number of people are concentrated, so the sound level can rise quickly if the building has too hard to finish.