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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says patients should not be exposed to noise levels above 35 decibels (dB)… or a loud whisper. But in recent years, UK researchers frequently recorded levels of 60dB to 90dB. Studies at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, found noise levels on an average medical ward exceeded 60dB most of the time, whilst at the Newcastle Teaching hospital, nurses logged levels averaging in the mid-40s and peaking at nearly 100dB – as loud as a lawnmower.

Acoustic Flooring from Sika

Acoustic Hospital Flooring

The WHO says noise levels on a ward should be around the same level as a library whisper, day and night, and it’s that goal that has led healthcare providers to choose the Sika ComfortFloor® system, not only for its hygenic properties, safety and durability, but also for its superb acoustic noise-dampening properties.

Examination rooms, MRI suites, operating theatres, in-patient rooms, nurses’ stations, offices, restaurants and shops all have unique floor, ceiling and wall finish requirements based on the room’s purpose, occupants and equipment. With so many surface options available – particularly for flooring – choosing the appropriate product or products for the wide array of clinical and non-clinical applications can be confusing.

Floors are not only expected to be smooth, level and easy to clean but to play a major part in noise and vibration suppression. Therefore, it is vital when specifying flooring finish that you select a manufacturer with products and solutions that offer varying degrees of noise and vibration reduction properties in order to meet the requirements from customers and regulatory bodies.

Sika ComfortFloor® PS-65 and PS-66 systems all integrate a soft elastic material that reduces echoing and the disturbing noise of footsteps and falling objects and feature an additional acoustic thick layer of underlay to help dampen noise with a high impact noise reduction of 19dB.

At York Hospital after successfully completing the trail application of its groundbreaking Sika Comfortfloor® Pro, Sika was awarded with the replacement of the floor in the hospital operating theatre, with its excellent acoustic insulation playing a large factor in its specification.

Sika Flooring in hospital environment

And its great news for staff too. According to a 2015 report in Nursing Times NHS staff walk over three miles a day on average with the furthest distance recorded by a single hospital employee during one day’s work being 11 miles. Sika ComfortFloor® PS-65 and PS-66 systems all integrate a soft elastic material that reduces echoing and the disturbing noise of footsteps and falling objects. An additional benefit is its soft and warm feel, comfortable to walk or stand on and is supremely resistant to furniture castors such as trolleys, beds or chairs.

Michael Summers of the UK Patients Association commented: “If everyone made a concerted effort it could reduce noise levels and make wards more peaceful places."

With a calming ambient environment now clinically proven to aid in the healing process, it’s heart-warming to see that healthcare providers are acknowledging the vital contribution that a noise-reducing floor can play in this important procedure. In 1859 the pioneer of nursing, Florence Nightingale, wrote in her seminal work Notes on Nursing: “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care which can be inflicted on the sick or well.” And it seems that more than 150 years later, others are still in agreement with her when it comes to the impact of noise on patient care.