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Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(9), 874; doi:10.3390/app7090874

Monitoring Sound Levels and Soundscape Quality in the Living Rooms of Nursing Homes: A Case Study in Flanders (Belgium)

1
Department of Information Technology, Ghent University, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
2
Department of Occupational Therapy, Artevelde University College, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
3
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
4
Department Gerontology and Frailty in Ageing, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1090 Brussels, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 24 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Acoustics)
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Abstract

Recently there has been an increasing interest in the acoustic environment and its perceptual counterpart (i.e., the soundscape) of care facilities and their potential to affect the experience of residents with dementia. There is evidence that too loud sounds or poor soundscape quality more generally can affect negatively the quality of life of people with dementia and increase agitation. The AcustiCare project aims to use the soundscape approach to enhance the Quality of Life (QoL) of residents and to reduce Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), as well as improving the everyday experience of nursing homes for both residents and staff members. In order to gain further insights into the sound environments of such facilities, sound level monitoring and soundscape data collection campaigns were conducted in the living rooms of five nursing homes in Flanders. Results showed that sound levels (dB) and loudness levels (sone) did not vary significantly between days of the week, but they did so between moments of the day and between living rooms. From the perceptual point of view, several soundscape attributes and the perceived prominence of different sound source types varied significantly between the living rooms investigated, and a positive correlation was found between sound levels and the number of persons present in the living rooms. These findings claim for further attention on the potential role of the sound domain in nursing homes, which should promote (and not only permit) better living and working conditions for residents and staff members of nursing homes. View Full-Text
Keywords: soundscape; indoor sound quality; nursing homes; dementia care soundscape; indoor sound quality; nursing homes; dementia care
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Aletta, F.; Botteldooren, D.; Thomas, P.; Vander Mynsbrugge, T.; De Vriendt, P.; Van de Velde, D.; Devos, P. Monitoring Sound Levels and Soundscape Quality in the Living Rooms of Nursing Homes: A Case Study in Flanders (Belgium). Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 874.

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