Ep 166: How Elevated Ambient Noise in the OR Impacts Health & Safety

It’s something outside people might never think about but ambient noise can have a direct impact on the health of CRNAs and the safety of the patients. Many people working in operating rooms don’t realize the effect that elevated noise levels can have and there might be different reasons for that. But we wanted to bring Marianne Cosgrove, CRNA, DNAP, APRN, PhD, onto the show to tell us more about the research she’s done in this area and what she’s found.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

For a lot of people, ambient noise can be soothing and settling. For others, it can be a distracting and debilitating. Better understanding what causes this and why it happens might actually benefit the work CRNAs are doing in the operating room.

Our guest today has been paying close attention to the elevated ambient noise in operating rooms and has researched the effects it has on people. Marianne Cosgrove, CRNA, DNAP, APRN, PhD, has been a CRNA for more than 30 years and now works as a program director at the Yale-New Haven Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia. She recently studied this subject and learned that most CRNAs don’t believe the noise has any negative impact, but the data says otherwise.

Let’s learn more about what she’s discovered and find out why this topic is so important for hospitals to pay attention to.

As you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • How her own experiences with ambient noise, both personally and professionally, led to an interest in this area.
  • How things have changed in the operating room through the years.
  • Details on the study she performed about ambient noise.
  • What are the normal decibel ranges in the operating room?
  • The responses she received from the surveys that were returned.
  • What all contributes to the ambient noise in the room?
  • The majority of CRNAs feel ambient noise can’t harm their health but data says otherwise.
  • The impact this has on patient safety.
  • How can we mitigate the noise in the OR.

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

2:06 – Welcome in our guest today

4:15 – Where did this interest come from? 

6:45 – Sharon’s background in this subject 

7:56 – Her study

13:27– Sound levels in the OR

15:43 – Return on the surveys

18:35 – Other survey findings

20:00 – Other contributors to the noise 

22:42 – CRNAs reaction to this

26:41 – Patient safety

29:54 – How to mitigate the noise 

34:44 – Lightning Round

“That’s 67%, the grand majority, feel that it has no impact on their health. So why is this? Is this an education issue? Is this something we should be talking about in our anesthesia programs, about protecting your patients and protecting yourself against loud noise.”

-Marianne Cosgrove, CRNA, DNAP, APRN, PhD






Q&A for the CPCA

We all have the current requirement to take the CPC Assessment for recertification, and many of our colleagues are asking us “How can I prepare?”.

Current Events

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Our guest today has quite the story to tell about advocacy but it’s not the same advocacy we normally discuss on the show. Maureen McCartney Anderson, CRNA has been in-volved with her state association in New Jersey for a number of years and was on the path of advocating for professional rights, but that changed dramatically when her baby was born with handicaps. Now she’s pouring much of her energy into advocating for the special needs children’s population and making a difference in her community with the help of other CRNAs.




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J. Cross CRNA
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This podcast is very well put together. I love the hosts Sharon & Jeremy, they do a fantastic job at presenting topics as well as getting great speakers on the show! This is my morning commute podcast everyday! Thank you for all that you do!
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I enjoy listening every morning. Great content and always a pleasure to learn something new.
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I started listening to this podcast religiously early on in my CRNA journey, a year before applying to CRNA school. The content in this podcast was one of my most helpful resources for getting into my first choice school, Wake Forest! It has also been a huge motivator for getting involved with the AANA now and throughout my career. I highly recommend this podcast to every prospective CRNA I meet.
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I appreciate hearing the latest and greatest in the world of Nurse Anesthesiology while also getting Class B credits. Just listen on your commute for a win/win experience. I love the perspectives from Jeremy and Sharon who both ask varied and insightful questions!
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If you’re a CRNA or any medical professional, I highly recommend giving this podcast a listen. Hosts have a great rapport.