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Table 1 Irritation ratings and sound level estimations of 20 noise sources per category

From: Effects of intensive care unit ambient sounds on healthcare professionals: results of an online survey and noise exposure in an experimental setting

  Irritation rating   dBA estimation   Sound level (in dBA)
Noise source Mean ± SD Rank   Mean ± SD Rank  
Telephone 3.26 ± 0.81 1   63.4 ± 13.7 3   70-80 [28]
Surveillance monitor (alarms) 3.21 ± 0.72 2   67.0 ± 13.1 2   44-78 [29]
Conversation of colleagues 3.10 ± 0.82 3   63.3 ± 14.6 4   59-90 [29]
Open packages 3.08 ± 1.01 4   68.4 ± 19.2 1   86 [29]
Pager 2.92 ± 0.98 5   58.9 ± 18.7 9   84 [28]
Dialysis machine 2.75 ± 0.89 6   60.3 ± 18.8 7   55 [a]
Mechanical ventilators 2.74 ± 0.83 7   60.7 ± 15.8 6   49-77 [7]
Squeaking shoes 2.68 ± 0.97 8   52.4 ± 18.8 17   
Medical visit 2.58 ± 0.92 9   59.8 ± 15.4 8   59-90 [29]
Syringe pump 2.57 ± 0.85 10   55.1 ± 19.4 14   
Suction pump 2.47 ± 0.89 11   55.6 ± 16.5 11   70-82 [7] (open)
Transport monitor, ventilator 2.41 ± 0.82 12   60.7 ± 16.6 5   
Ringing/bell 2.39 ± 0.94 13   55.2 ± 18.2 12   40 [a]
ECMO machine 2.36 ± 1.02 14   56.4 ± 20.3 10   
Open/close drawers 2.30 ± 0.88 15   52.7 ± 19.1 16   85.7 [7]
Conversation of visitors 2.29 ± 0.76 16   53.8 ± 15.2 15   59-90 [29]
Brake on the bed 2.18 ± 0.98 17   55.1 ± 21.2 13   
Heated blanket 2.16 ± 0.92 18   44.0 ± 18.9 19   40 [a]
Compressed air 2.10 ± 0.93 19   51.7 ± 20.4 18   70-77 [7] (open)
Thoracic drainage 1.60 ± 0.69 20   36.2 ± 19.2 20   45 [a]
  1. dBA A-weighted decibel scale, ECMO extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  2. Sources: [a] measurements by authors of this study [7]; Tsiou, Eftymiatos, Theodossopoulou, Notis, and Kiriakou, 1998 [28]; Sommargren, 1995 [29]; Pugh, 2007; blanks: no measures available