A Sound Approach: Enhancing Sound Environments in Long-Term Care

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Sarah Condran, Music Therapist

Project Title: Music Therapy Led Approach on Enhancing Sound Environments in Long Term Care


What is the issue?

Noise can have a negative impact on residents in long-term care homes, especially for individuals who are living with dementia. Noise reduction is often overlooked as a way to improve the environment for residents, staff, and visitors.

What did we do?

We worked with providers in two long-term care units to identify and implement changes to improve the sound environment. Physical space improvements included renovations to common rooms, changing the layout in dining areas, installing acoustic panels, and repairing noisy equipment. Practice changes included reducing sounds during dining room service, improving leisure services, and developing preventative maintenance plans. We educated staff about the impact of the sound environment and installed a visual noise indicator called SoundEar to raise awareness and support the overall goal of reducing noise.

What did we find?

The changes we made effectively reduced noise levels, as confirmed by a sound engineer. Staff were more aware of the impact of noise on residents’ well-being and their work environment. They were more aware of the sources of noise, which included residents’ responsive behaviours, alarms, pagers, carts, and doors. Staff also felt better equipped to engage residents in leisure activities.