There is nothing more important than making sure people are happy and healthy. We recognise the importance in providing spaces where people can get healthy. We also understand that these spaces need to be functional and work, both for the patient and the clinical staff.
Acoustic design is fundamental to the quality of healthcare buildings. Sound affects us both physiologically and psychologically. Noise, which can be defined as “unwanted sound”, can increase heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and even blood cholesterol levels. Pleasant sounds help create a sense of well-being. Music can be used to treat depression, to reach autistic people and to calm and relax tense patients. Good acoustic conditions improve patient privacy and dignity, and promote essential sleep patterns. Such conditions are key to healing. Good acoustic design brings other benefits in terms of patient and staff comfort and morale, as well as improved efficiency and usability of equipment.
Healthcare facilities are typically required to meet the acoustic performance standards set out in HTM 08-01, in which there is guidance to provide a suitable acoustic environment for each of the differing functions in a medical building. This includes consideration of noise levels, sound insulation, room acoustics, audio systems, audiology facilities and vibration caused by plant, medical equipment and activities.
Our team has worked on a wide range of important medical facilities, including Royal Brompton Hospital, Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Stratford Ambulatory Care Centre, Warwick Hospital and Halton Hospital in Runcorn.
Image credit: University of Southampton audiology booth, courtesy of IAC.