Acoustics form a key component in the Healthcare sector, with great acoustic environments assisting in promoting a speedier recovery. Alternatively there is now strong evidence that poor acoustics can seriously affect the health and well being of everyone within a poorly designed room or space.
Healthcare encompasses all the different sectors of the NHS and private providers and includes (but is not limited to) hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, dentists, care homes and specialist units. Poor acoustic conditions in almost any space (from consulting rooms through to wards) can have a variety of negative effects. Imagine private conversations heard outside of the consulting rooms, unable to understand the doctor or noisy wards, all these are common when acoustic planning is not followed.
The World Health Organisation states that  ‘excessive noise can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour’.
Typical effects of poor acoustics in the Healthcare Sector include:
– Increased recovery time
– Stress
– Anxiety
– Loss of privacy
– Poor speech intelligibility

Healthcare doctors office
Hospitals | Dentists | Care Homes

Meeting Healthcare standards

HTM08-01 explains the minimum requirements for acoustics within the Healthcare sector.  A copy can be downloaded from the government website here.
The Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 08-01 looks at the acoustic requirements and design of health and social care facilities by providing minimum performance levels that need to be met for all aspects of the building including external façade, internal wall construction, internal and external doors and glazing as well as reverberation levels within rooms or spaces.
Approved Document E forms part of the Building Regulations that covers acoustics (Resistance to Sound). Healthcare is not specifically mentioned in Approved Document E but may still be referred to by planning officers. A copy of Approved Document E can be downloaded from the government website here.

Implementing the correct acoustic design based on the appropriate guidance and assessments is key to providing an acoustic environment fit for the recovery of patients and the well-being of those working in the health industry.