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

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