How soundproofing can improve residents’ health and wellbeing
Noise is a common issue faced by aged care facilities. Excessive noise can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of residents, causing stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, leading to a decline in physical and mental health.
There are various types of noise commonly present in aged care facilities that can be bothersome for residents, including:
1) Environmental noise
Sound produced by external sources such as traffic, construction work, and nearby industrial activities is known as environmental noise. Particularly bothersome for residents who may have hearing impairments, it can also cause confusion and disorientation, making it difficult for residents to navigate their surroundings.
2) Staff noise
Staff members carrying out their duties, such as cleaning and maintenance activities, will generate some level of noise. And while these activities are necessary for maintaining a safe and hygienic environment, they can be disruptive to residents. Staff may also engage in conversations or phone calls that can be heard by residents, which can be distracting and unsettling.
3) Medical equipment noise
Aged care facilities are home to many types of medical equipment used in the care of residents, such as ventilators, monitors, and alarms. While these devices are no doubt essential for monitoring and treating residents, they can be noisy and intrusive, causing discomfort and stress.
4) Resident noise
Of course, aged care residents themselves will generate noise too, such as snoring, talking, and other vocalisations. While these noises may not be intentional, they can still be disruptive and impact the quality of life for other residents.
5) Social noise
While social activities such as television, music, and group activities can be beneficial for residents’ mental health, they can also be noisy and disruptive to others.
Problems caused by excess noise in aged care facilities
Excessive noise can pose significant health risks to residents, particularly those who are frail, have cognitive impairments, or hearing loss. Some health risks associated with too much noise in an aged care facility include:
1) Stress and anxiety
Excessive noise levels can lead to increased stress and anxiety among aged care residents. In turn, this can cause physical symptoms such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a decline in physical and mental health.
2) Sleep disturbances
Loud noises can disturb residents’ sleep, leading to sleep deprivation and fatigue. Lack of sleep can cause a range of health problems, including mood disorders, memory impairment, and a weakened immune system.
3) Hearing damage
Repeated exposure to loud noises can cause permanent hearing damage – especially in older adults who may already have age-related hearing loss. This can lead to communication difficulties, social isolation, and reduced quality of life
4) Cognitive impairment
Excessive noise can contribute to cognitive impairment, particularly in aged care residents with dementia or other cognitive impairments. Noise can cause confusion, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating, making it harder for these residents to navigate their environment and engage in activities.
5) Cardiovascular problems
Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
Strategies for reducing aged care facility noise
Reducing noise levels in an aged care facility can improve residents’ quality of life and promote a calm and comfortable environment. Some strategies that can be implemented include:
Soundproofing the building is one of the most effective ways to reduce noise in aged care facilities. This involves using sound-absorbing materials, such as acoustic tiles, curtains, and carpets, to help absorb sound and reduce the overall level of noise in the building.
Implementing quiet hours during specific times of the day can help to reduce noise levels in aged care facilities.
Talk to Avenue about soundproofing solutions for aged care
Excessive noise – such as environmental, staff, medical equipment, resident, or social noise – is a significant issue in aged care facilities which can lead to a decline in residents’ physical and mental health. Such noise can cause stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, hearing damage, cognitive impairment, and cardiovascular problems.
Implementing strategies to reduce noise levels at aged care facilities, such as installing soundproofing, putting quiet hours in place, properly maintaining equipment, training staff, and creating a calm environment, can improve residents’ quality of life, ensure their physical and mental wellbeing, and promote a peaceful environment.
You can see why reducing noise levels in aged care facilities must be a priority. To learn more about how we can help improve the quality of life for your aged care residents by implementing soundproofing and other noise-reducing strategies, please get in touch with the Avenue team on 1300 827 177 or contact us online.
Together, we can create a comfortable and supportive environment for all residents.