Effect of hospital noise on patients' ability to hear, understand, and recall speech

Diana S. Pope, Frederick J. Gallun, Sean Kampel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Speech intelligibility and recall were examined in normally hearing and hearing-impaired hospitalized patients. Fifty-two participants completed testing in a sound-attenuated booth. While listening to a recorded male speaker talking at conversational level, participants were asked to identify and remember the last (key) word in each of a series of five sentences presented in hospital noise with or without voices at three decibel levels (59, 64, and 69dBA). Noise level and sentence context had the largest impact on key word identification (p<.001). Noise level had the largest impact on key word recall (p<.001). Type of hospital noise and hearing loss also significantly influenced performance on both measures. These findings have implications for healthcare providers communicating with hospitalized patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-241
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013



  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Context
  • Health facility environment
  • Hearing loss
  • Inpatients
  • Mental recall
  • Noise
  • Speech intelligibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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