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Impact of a visual indicator on the noise level in an emergency medical dispatch centre - a pilot study

Abstract : Background: Noise levels are monitored in call centres. A maximum of 52 to 55 dB(A) is recommended in order to prevent adverse events. We aimed at assessing the noise level and the impact of a visual noise indicator on the ambient noise level in a French Regional Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre (EMDC). Methods: We conducted an observational study in the EMDC of the SAMU25 (University Hospital of Besancon). We measured the noise level using a SoundEarII® noise indicator (Dräger Medical SAS, France). The measurement took place in two phases on three consecutive days from 00:00 to 11:59 PM. At baseline, phase 1, the device recorded the average ambient noise for each minute without visual indication. Secondly, phase 2 included a sensor mounted with a light that would turn on green if noise was below 65 dB(A), orange if noise ever exceeded 65 and red if it exceeded 75 dB(A). Results: In the presence of the visual noise indicator, the L Aeq was significantly lower than in the absence of visual noise indicator (a mean difference of − 4.19 dB; P < 10-3). It was higher than 55 dB(A) in 84.9 and 43.9% of the time in phases 1 and 2, respectively. Conclusions: The noise levels were frequently higher than the standards, and sometimes close to recommended limits, requiring preventive measures. The noise indicator had a positive effect on the ambient noise level. This work will allow the implementation of effective prevention solutions and, based on future assessments, could improve operators' well-being and better care for patient.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03313782
Contributor : Odile Malbec <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 4:20:05 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 5, 2021 - 3:23:34 AM

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Justin Outrey, Jean-Baptiste Pretalli, Sophie Pujol, Alice Brembilla, Thibaut Desmettre, et al.. Impact of a visual indicator on the noise level in an emergency medical dispatch centre - a pilot study. BMC Emergency Medicine, BioMed Central, 2021, 21 (1), pp.22. ⟨10.1186/s12873-021-00415-5⟩. ⟨inserm-03313782⟩

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