Weekly sound surveys (n=63) were collected, using 5s sampling intervals, for two modern neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Median weekly equivalent sound pressure levels (LEQ) for NICU A ranged from 61 to 63dB (A weighted), depending on the level of care. NICU B LEQ measurements ranged from 55 to 60dB (A weighted). NICU B was recently built with a focus on sound abatement, explaining much of the difference between the two NICUs. Sound levels exceeded 45dB (A weighted), recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 70% of the time for all levels of care. Hourly LEQs below 50dB (A weighted) and hourly L10s below 55dB (A weighted), recommended by the Sound Study Group (SSG) of the National Resource Center, were also exceeded in more than 70% of recorded samples. A third SSG recommendation, that the 1sLMAX, should not exceed 70dB (A weighted), was exceeded relatively infrequently (<11% of the time). Peak impulse measurements exceeded 90dB for 6.3% of 5s samples recorded from NICU A and 2.8% of NICU B samples. Twenty-four h periodicities in sound levels as a function of regular staff activities were apparent, but short term variability was considerable.

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