1. Hull, William DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, RNC-NIC, C-ELBW, DCSD
  2. Wright, Karen PhD, APRN, NNP-BC


Background: Increased noxious noise leads to adverse short-term and long-term effects on the growing neonate. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends maintaining a noise level of less than 45 decibels (dBA). The average baseline noise level in an open-pod neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was 62.6 dBA.


Purpose: The purpose of this pilot project was to reduce the average noise levels by 39% at the end of an 11-week period.


Methods: The location of the project was in a large, high-acuity level IV open-pod layout NICU that consisted of 4 pods, one of which was cardiac-focused. The average baseline noise level in the cardiac pod was 62.6 dBA in a 24-hour period. Noise levels were not monitored before this pilot project. This project was implemented over an 11-week period. Several modes of education were used for parents and staff. Post-education, Quiet Times were implemented at set times twice daily. Noise levels were monitored for 4 weeks during Quiet Times, with weekly noise level updates for staff. General noise levels were collected a final time to evaluate the overall change in the average noise levels.


Results: At the end of the project, noise levels decreased from 62.6 dBA to 54 dBA, a 13.7% reduction.


Implications for Practice and Research: At the end of this pilot project it was noted that: Online modules were the best way to educate staff. Parents should be included in the implementation of quality improvement. Healthcare providers need to know and understand that they can make preventative changes to improve the outcomes of the population.