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Hospital Project on Noise, Sound and Sleep

HPNoSS brought together an interdisciplinary team of academics,artists, sound engineers, nurses and patient advocates to explorecreative and practical solutions to the issues around noise in thehospital environment, and the intimate relationship of sound tosleep, rest, treatment and recovery.

HPoNSSHPNoSS saw a diverse group of stakeholders exploringperceptions of the hospital soundscape by experimentingwith live hospital sound recordings in a participatory context.The group recreated the soundscape of an intensive care unitwithin a training ward and introduced interventions thatparticipants were asked to rate. Through an iterative process,themes around perception and emotional response to thedifferent sonic states were identified by the project team.As a result of the workshop, recommendations for positiveinterventions and approaches are being developed and willbe implemented and tested in a clinical environment.

The recommended maximum sound levels for hospitals areregularly exceeded. As a result noise is a significant contributorto poor sleep quality and quantity with negative impacts bothon patients’ recovery and staff’s ability to work. Despite 20years of research in the field, a fresh approach is required thatallows sound and the soundscape to be viewed as a positiveand malleable component of the healthcare environment.

Through its interdisciplinary and creative approach,HPNoSS enables the development of novel insights intowhat is often seen as an intractable problem in healthcare.This has sparked new debates in a relatively static field andopened the way to promising avenues for future research.


HPNoSS is a collaboration between King's College London's Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, University of the Arts London’s College of Communication, and Imperial College London’s Dyson School of Design Engineering. It was supported by the university's Culture team.

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Read the report here