Quiet time in NICUs may improve infant health, study shows

Implementing quiet time in neonatal intensive care units could improve infant health outcomes, according to new research.

Researchers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Baptist Health South Florida in South Miami conducted the study and will present their findings at the 177th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Louisville, Ky. The meeting is taking place now through May 17.

Several NICUs that developed quiet time guidelines, including limiting conversations and coordinating scheduled cleaning services, were part of the study. Researchers examined how the soundscape in each NICU changed over the day.

NICUs that implemented quiet time guidelines experienced more quiet time throughout the day, and very loud sounds occurred more infrequently in these units. Quiet time guidelines resulted in certain stressful pitches being quieter. Infants also had healthier heart rates during quiet time.

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