Annoyance among Staff and Noise Level in a Tertiary Care Hospital in New Delhi, India: A Pilot Study

  • Aritrik Das Resident, Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.
  • Jugal Kishore Director Professor & Head, Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Keywords: Sound Pollution, Hearing, dB, Sleep Disturbances, Annoyance, Speech Intelligibility


Introduction: In India, an area of not less than 100 metres around a hospital is considered a silence zone, with guidelines restricting noise levels at 50dBA during daytime and 40dBA during the night. Annoyance is a known effect of noise exposure.

Objectives: To determine the feasibility of an extensive study on noise in the hospital, annoyance in staff due to hospital noise and its associated factors.

Methods: Noise data was collected from 3 sites, using a Digital Integrating Sound Level Meter, LutronSL-4035SD(ISO-9001,CE,IEC1010) meeting IEC61672 standards. Stratified random sampling of staff was done on basis of noise exposure. A pre-designed, semi-structured questionnaire collected information on sociodemographic and work profile. Annoyance was measured using standardized general purpose noise reaction questionnaire (ISO-TS/ 15666). Data was analysed in SPSS.

Result: Laeq ranged from 56dB in nephrology ward to 89.2dB at OPD atrium. Maximum noise level was 98.6dB in OPD atrium and 86.1dB in nephrology ward. Levels at night in ward were higher than during day time. 24 (53.3%) of the staff said their workplace is noisy, while 26(57.8%) were annoyed by workplace noise. Annoyance due to hospital noise was associated with age (p=0.003), duration of work in hospital per week (p=0.04), duration of work in current department (p=0.007), noise level (p=0.04) and workplace distance from arterial road (p=0.02).

Conclusion: Hospital noise levels are higher than recommended levels for sensitive zones as per national guidelines and exceed levels inside wards as stipulated by WHO. More than half the study population were annoyed by workplace noise indicating need for interventions. A study throughout the hospital to study noise levels and annoyance among staff following similar methodology is feasible and necessary.

How to cite this article:
Das A, Kishore J. Annoyance among Staff and Noise Level in a Tertiary Care Hospital in New Delhi, India: A Pilot Study. Int J Preven Curat Comm Med 2020; 6(3): 10-16.



Stansfeld S, Haines M, Brown B. Noise and health in the urban environment. Reviews on environmental

health 2000; 15(1-2): 43-82.

Fritschi L, Brown L, Kim R et al. Burden of disease from environmental noise: Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe. WHO regional office for Europe 2011.

Central Pollution Control Board [Internet]. India: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change;

c2019 [cited 2019 Sep 28]. WHO Guidelines for Noise. Available from:


Busch-Vishniac IJ, West JE, Barnhill C et al. Noise levelsin Johns Hopkins hospital. The Journal of the Acoustical

Society of America 2005; 118(6): 3629-3645.

Berglund B, Lindvall T, Schwela DH. World Health Organization. Guidelines for community noise. (1999).

Noise Pollution Regulations in India. Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment & Forests

Govt. of India 2001.

Nassiri P, Heidari H, Khadem M et al. Assessment of noise annoyance and its effects on healthcare staff

based on sound pressure level and annoyance scale. International Journal of Occupational Hygiene 2014;

(1): 23-30.

Valente D. STIPA v4 Specification Compliance Study [Internet]. Studio Six Digital; 2002 Feb [cited 2020

Sep 20]. Available from

Acoustics IS. Assessment of noise annoyance by means of social and socio- acoustic surveys. ISO/TS 15666.

International organisation for standardization. 2003.

Khaiwal R, Singh T, Tripathy JP et al. Assessment of noise pollution in and around a sensitive zone in North

India and its non-auditory impacts. Science of the Total Environment 2016; 566: 981-7.

Vinodhkumaradithyaa A, Srinivasan M, Ananthalakshmi I et al. Noise levels in a tertiary care hospital. Noise and Health 2008; 10(38): 11.

Costa GD, de Lacerd AB, Marques J. Noise on the Hospital Setting: Impact on Nursing Professionals’

Health. Revista CEFAC 2013; 15(3).

Morrison WE, Haas EC, Shaffner DH et al. Noise, stress, and annoyance in a pediatric intensive care unit. Critical care medicine 2003; 31(1): 113-119.

Pai JY. A study in hospital noise-a case from Taiwan. International Journal of Occupational Safety and

Ergonomics 2007; 13(1): 83-90.

Ryherd EE, Moeller Jr M, Hsu T. Speech intelligibility in hospitals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of

America 2013; 134(1): 586-595.