Effect of ambient noise on indoor environments in a health care facility in Oman

Patrick Amoatey, Issa Al-Harthy*, Muntasar Ali Al-Mushaifari, Khalifa Al-Jabri, Abdullah Al-Mamun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hospital-noise levels can induce physiological responses and affect sleep quality, which could contribute to cardiovascular-related health problems. Till date, high-resolution hospital noise exposure assessment studies have not received much attention in Oman. This study aims at assessing sound pressure levels across hospital wards and intensive care unit (ICU) rooms to determine annoyance and potential health effects based on perception and risk estimates. An indoor exposure assessment using high precision noise sensors was conducted in a female medical ward (FMW), isolated ward (SLW), emergency ward (EMW), and intensive care unit (ICU) in a public hospital in Muscat city, Oman. Self-administered questionnaire was randomly distributed among respondents using both online and field survey approach to ascertain annoyance, health effects, and potential risks associated with exposure. The study found that 24-h noise levels (LAeq) ranged from 55.2 to 61.7 dB(A) in the hospital wards and ICU rooms, which exceeded WHO’s hospital indoor rooms critical limit of 35 dB(A) by 58–76%. A total of 150 participants took part in the survey. Among the respondents, 53% reported moderate annoyance at the hospital wards, while 56% felt sensitivity to the noise levels. Noise annoyance was reported by the majority of the patients across the various wards and emergency rooms as causing slight annoyance (50%) and intermittent sleep disturbances (49%). The majority (73%) of the medical staff have complained that the current noise levels affect overall work performance (p = 0.004), while 70% of them have further complained of it as a cause of workplace distraction (p = 0.011). Logistic binary regression analysis has revealed that the complaint of noise sensitivity has a positive association with noise levels in VCW (OR: 1.54; 95% CI: 0.92–2.58), and reported loss of concentration by the medical staff also associated with noise levels at the EMW (OR: 1.61; 95% CI: 0.65–4.01). Quantitative risk estimates showed that both the percentages of highly annoyed (HA) persons (16%), and highly sleep-disturbed (HSD) persons (9%) were very high in FMW, while ICU was found to have the lowest risk. However, the greater number of the respondents (87%) believed that there are possibilities of mitigating (p < 0.001) the current noise levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15081-15097
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 8 2021


  • Annoyance
  • Health risk
  • Hospital Wards
  • Noise
  • Oman
  • Survey
  • Humans
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Noise/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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