The effects of noise on the cognitive performance of physicians in a hospital emergency department

Dodds, Peter
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Xiang, Ning
Braasch, Jonas
Perry, Chris (Christopher S.)
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Architectural sciences
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In this research, the acoustic environment of a contemporary urban hospital emergency department has been characterized. Perceptive and cognitive tests relating to the acoustic environment were conducted on both medical professionals and lay people and a methodology for developing augmentable acoustic simulations from field recordings was developed. While research of healthcare environments remains a popular area of investigation for the acoustics community, a lack of communication between medical and acoustics researchers as well as a lack of sophistication in the methods implemented to evaluate hospital environments and their occupants has led to stagnation. This research attempted to replicate traditional methods for the evaluation of hospital acoustic environments including impulse response based room acoustics measurements as well as psychoacoustic evaluations. This thesis also demonstrates some of the issues associated with conducting such research and provides an outline and implementation for alternative advanced methods of re- search. Advancements include the use of the n-Back test to evaluate the effects of the acoustic environment on cognitive function as well as the outline of a new methodology for implementing realistic immersive simulations for cognitive and perceptual testing using field recordings and signal processing techniques. Additionally, this research utilizes feedback from working emergency medicine physicians to determine the subjective degree of distraction subjects felt in response to a simulated acoustic environment. Results of the room acoustics measurements and all experiments will be presented and analyzed and possible directions for future research will be presented.
August 2015
School of Architecture
School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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