Noise Reduction in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Quality Improvement Initiative

Mohamed Farooq Ahamed, Deborah Campbell, Susan Horan, Orna Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Exogenous noise has deleterious effects on the developing fetus and infant. The aim of this quality improvement project was to lower the mean ambient noise level within a level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by 10% from the baseline in one year. Multiple noise reduction strategies were tested through Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement model for improvement. Strategies targeted environmental and behavioral modifications. Noise levels were recorded continuously; means and peaks were calculated. The mean noise level decreased from 62.4 dB to 56.1 dB, and peak noise level decreased from 115 dB to 76 dB within 12 months. Day shift noise level decreased by 7.7 dB; night shift noise level decreased by 4.9 dB from baseline. Targeted education, behavioral, and environmental modifications decreased the noise level in the NICU as per the study aim. To create a change in culture, constant dialogue between the project champions and the NICU staff is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • NICU
  • adverse effects of noise on neonates
  • hearing loss neonates
  • noise reduction
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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