Acoustic regulations for hospital bedrooms – Comparison between selected countries in Europe



Regulatory acoustic requirements for hospitals exist in several countries in Europe, but many countries have either insufficient regulatory limits or only recommendations. The main purpose of limit values is to ensure optimal acoustic conditions for patients under treatment and for personnel for the various tasks taking place in many different rooms, e.g. bedrooms, examination and treatment rooms, corridors, stairwells, waiting and reception areas, canteens, offices, all with different acoustic needs. In addition, some rooms require special considerations like psychiatric rooms and noisy MR-scanning rooms. The extent of limit values varies considerably between countries. Some specify a few, others several criteria. The findings from a comparative study carried out in selected countries in various geographical parts of Europe show a diversity of acoustic descriptors and limit values. The paper includes examples of criteria for reverberation time, airborne and impact sound insulation, noise from traffic and from service equipment. The discrepancies between countries are discussed, aiming at potential learning and implementation of optimized limits for more room types. In addition to regulations or guidelines, some countries have hospitals included in national acoustic classification schemes with different acoustic quality levels. Indications of such classification criteria will be included in the paper.