The sound of the hospital of the future
A well-designed sound environment is the first step to healing
Hospitals are the last place you'd think to go for some peace and quiet but unfortunately we only end up there when we are most in need of rest.
Let me set the scene...lying on your hospital bed, the lights permanently on and that interminable background noise: the beep of the monitor, equipment alarms, acoustic alerts, the buzzing of the automatic doors and the constant to-ing and fro-ing of people and hospital staff.
A 2005 global study looked into this aspect of hospitals. It found that between 1960 and 2005, noise levels in hospitals had increased from an average of 57 decibels to 72 decibels during the day and from 42 to 60 during the night.
The World Health Organisation recommends that levels are kept below 30 decibels when resting, explaining that noise above 55 decibels at night may cause disturbed sleep and increase the risk of cardiac disease.
Fortunately, many experts from the fields of both health and sound are dedicated to this cause.
We want to tell you about the Sen Sound project by Yoko Sen.
Photo Credit: Kate Reed
It all began when Yoko fell ill and experienced first-hand what it meant to spend hours of her time physically unwell in an environment with high levels of sound pollution.
Electronic musician and sound alchemist that she is, Yoko was unable to resist the challenge of designing a new sound environment for hospitals.
Her mission was to alleviate at least part of the patients' suffering, helping them as well as the doctors, nurses and other people who have to spend their time in an environment saturated with sounds and alarms every single day.
See her work here: