Impact of Nightly Earplugs on Medical/Surgical Patients’ Perceptions of Noise Level and Quality of Sleep


Purpose: At West Kendall Baptist Hospital, our Medical-Surgical/Telemetry floor (3 South) continues to tackle noise level and patient disruptions during night time. It has been documented that patient satisfaction goes up when the patients’ ability to sleep improved as a direct consequence of lowered noise. The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of nightly earplugs on patients’ perception of quality of sleep and noise level at night on a Medical/Surgical unit. The specific aim of the study is to compare pre and post implementations of nightly earplugs in determining patients’ perception of quality of sleep and noise level in Medical/Surgical unit. The secondary aim of this study is to assess patients’ perception of quality of sleep and noise level at night on a Medical/Surgical unit.

Method/s: This is a quasi-experimental pilot study using pre/post questionnaires.

Result/Findings: Investigators were able to recruit a total of 50 patients but 4 of these patients dropped from the study with some of them voicing their discomfort with the use of the earplugs. This resulted in an attrition rate of 8% resulted which is acceptable. Table 1 illustrates the sample demographics such as a slight majority of females (54%), average age of 45 years, 74% Hispanic, 67% reported being bilingual speakers of English and Spanish, and 78% had post high school education. Participants rated the noise level, on average, to be low to moderate noise heard during the day (2.94+.978). Table 2 illustrates the unpaired participants’ pre and post sleep quality responses. There was a clear increase in sleep quality post use of earplugs in all questions ranging from 80 to 90% reporting positive sleep quality and restfulness with earplugs compared to without earplugs which ranged from 32-54% with positive perceptions. When participants’ responses were paired, the exact McNemar’test showed that there were statistically significant differences (p<.001-p=.012) in the proportion of positive perceptions of sleep quality pre and post the use of earplugs with all questions. Furthermore, the one sample paired t-test showed that there was a statistically significant difference in participants’ perception of noise level pre-earplugs (2.50+1.11) compared to post-earplugs (1.57+1.13) (p<.001).

Moreover, participants have been highly satisfied with the earplugs use (4.26+.905) as shown in Table 4. In addition, the likelihood of the participants to use the earplugs if admitted again in the hospital (3.89+1.45) and to recommend earplugs use to friends and family (4.20+1.00) have shown a significant positive response.

Discussion: Final reports show positive outcome in the use of earplugs at night time. The pre- and post- survey results shows improved quality of sleep overall and decreased noise level with the use of earplugs. This shows that there is a direct relationship between noise level and quality of sleep. Results show the noise level decreased during the night the participants were wearing their earplugs, leading to uninterrupted sleep, which then resulted to increased rate of restful sleep. The results are very remarkable and encouraging. The earplugs use can be a very cost-effective and simple way of improving patient satisfaction score and patient recovery.

Publication Date


Presented At:

11th Annual BHSF Research Conference

Content Type

Poster Presentation

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