SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Timothy Hsu
TIME: Friday, March 9, 2012, 9:30 a.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: Relating Acoustics and Human Outcome Measures in Hospitals
COMMITTEE: Dr. Erica Ryherd, Chair (ME)
Dr. Kenneth Cunefare (ME)
Dr. Aldo Ferri (ME)
Dr. Craig Zimring (Arch)
Dr. Kerstin Persson Waye (Occupational Health)


Hospital noise has been an area of concern for medical professionals and researchers for the last century. Researchers have attempted to characterize the soundscape of hospital wards and have made some preliminary links between noise and human outcomes. In the past, most of the research has used traditional acoustic metrics. These traditional metrics, such as average sound level, are readily measured using sound level meters and have been the primary results reported in previous studies. However, it has been shown that these traditional metrics may be insufficient in fully characterizing the wards. The two studies presented here use traditional metrics and untraditional metrics to define the soundscape of the hospital wards. Additionally, the speech intelligibility in these wards are analyzed and presented. These acoustic metrics are shown to have statistically significant relationships to both patient and staff outcomes. Statistical models such as correlations, linear regression, curve estimation and risk ratio are used to reveal some of these potential relationships. These results continue to demonstrate the importance of understanding the relationships between hospital acoustics and patient physiological arousal.