- July, 2023
- January, 2023
- December, 2022
Often overlooked, noise management in hospital design determines patient comfort
While the CNB and ADEME published a study in October 2021 estimating the social cost of noise at 155 billion euros per year, it seems more necessary than ever to take environmental noise into account in an open-ended way. Healthcare establishments are also faced with an acoustic paradox: while the sound comfort of patients is essential for their recovery, there are many noisy activities and sources of nuisance such as patient transport in the hospital. Nevertheless, silence does not necessarily rhyme with sound comfort, acoustics must be able to participate in the coherence of spaces by working in conjunction with architects and urban planners.
In acoustics, one of the most common misconceptions consists in thinking that it is the high sound level of a noise that produces the nuisance, whereas it is its identification that is the source. Our two senses, hearing and sight, operate on the basis of a frequency analyzer: permanently and reflexively we perceive visual and auditory frequencies. The reflex understanding of sound messages can lead, depending on the level of intelligibility, to identifying the noise. It is this identification and its level of agreeableness which are at the origin of any nuisance. This is why silence can sometimes favor a nuisance: when an environment is perfectly silent, even a noise of very low intensity is immediately identifiable. Similarly, there are pleasant noises despite their intensity, such as the sound of foliage or the sound of the sea.
This is why acoustics is not only an engineering protection against noise but really participates in the coherence of spaces according to the needs related to the exploitation. In spaces with a high mix of activities and uses, as is the case in healthcare establishments, it is essential to be able to plan the appropriate sound environments according to needs. This is the reason why we have developed joint working methods and tools with the architect, such as Environmental Acoustic BIM – BIMAE®. The BIMAE® allows us to integrate, from the first design phases of healthcare establishments, acoustic solutions so that each space is consistent with its use.
By participating in the Village des Architectes du Salon Santexpo®, we want to highlight our methodological and technical know-how in mastering the soundscapes of each space (from town planning, to the building, to the rooms and bedrooms) . It is by working jointly with architects on the coherence of spaces in healthcare establishments that we can build responsible hospitals together and ensure the comfort of its occupants.