Department of Medicine Publications


Filtering out the Noise: Evaluating the Impact of Noise and Sound Reduction Strategies on Sleep Quality for ICU Patients

Document Type


Publication Date



Critical Care






The review article by Xie and colleagues examines the impact of noise and noise reduction strategies on sleep quality for critically ill patients. Evaluating the impact of noise on sleep quality is challenging, as it must be measured relative to other factors that may be more or less disruptive to patients' sleep. Such factors may be difficult for patients, observers, and polysomnogram interpreters to identify, due to our limited understanding of the causes of sleep disruption in the critically ill, as well as the challenges in recording and quantifying sleep stages and sleep fragmentation in the intensive care unit. Furthermore, most research in this field has focused on noise level, whereas acousticians typically evaluate additional parameters such as noise spectrum and reverberation time. The authors highlight the disparate results and limitations of existing studies, including the lack of attention to other acoustic parameters besides sound level, and the combined effects of different sleep disturbing factors.


Published in: Critical Care, 2009, 13:151. doi: 10.1186/cc7798