Staff and patients must shout to be heard over the ambient din, a phenomenon researchers from Johns Hopkins University call the “cocktail party effect.” And they say the cacaphony in hospitals is getting worse.
Announcements blare from overhead speakers. Electronic devices beep. Heating and cooling systems whoosh and rumble. These are the typical sounds of a hospital, according to acoustics experts Eileen Busch-Vishniac and James West. In a November article published in the Johns Hopkins Gazette, they describe a problem cognitive ergonomists address in many workplaces