One of the most important factors to rapid recovery is rest. This is why hospitals always encourage their patients to sleep as much as possible in order to give their bodies the opportunity to heal. Unfortunately, noise levels in hospitals can frustrate these efforts as it prevents people from getting proper sleep. To mitigate this, hospitals will invest in sound-proofing measures which although useful, are usually concentrated on surfaces such as walls and ceilings. In doing so, hospitals ignore another vital surface namely the floor.
How Hospital Floors Can Raise Noise Levels
Given the fact that hospitals put greater emphasis on cleanliness when it comes to their floors, it is common to find that hospital floors are made with easy-to-clean materials. These include ceramic tiles and similar materials. The problem with such surfaces is that they can be very noisy, especially if hundreds of people are walking on them every day. The sound of shoes, wheelchairs, and wheeled beds on such surfaces can prevent patients from resting properly and thus defeat the purpose of their stay in the hospital.
What can be done about this? There are several options that hospitals can explore to ensure that most of this noise is eliminated.
Cork flooring is gaining popularity as an alternative to hard ceramic tiles in hospital flooring. Cork is soft and has excellent sound-absorbing qualities. Experts say that cork can reduce sound by up to 10 decibels because soundwaves are absorbed into its permeable structure. Another quality of cork that makes it useful as a flooring material is that it is resistant to mold and mildew. It is also very long-lasting and recyclable.
Just like cork, rubber is soft and very effective at absorbing sound. Many hospitals use rubber to cover ceramic or concrete flooring in order to reduce noise levels. It is easy to install, slip-resistant, and also easy to clean. The other advantage that rubber has over other materials is that it can be easily replaced. Rubber mats or tiles are usually fixed on the floor surface using a strong adhesive. When they get worn out or torn, the tile can be easily removed and replaced.
Choose Acoustical Surfaces Based on Types of Noise
When trying to improve the acoustic dynamics of a hospital, it is critical to consider the fact that there are other sources of noise as well. For example, noise from equipment and machinery can also prevent patients from resting properly. In such cases, you may have to consider placing such equipment in soundproofed cubicles. Using materials such as acoustic panels or curtains, one can effectively seal in the sound from such machinery and ensure patients are comfortable.
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