[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 8, 1977

Decibels and Utilization Review

JAMA. 1977;238(6):514. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280060058026

A number of recent reports serve to confirm earlier suspicions that sinister forces are undermining the precepts of Osier and his disciples and that a malignant proliferation of transistor radios and television sets is infiltrating every aspect of the modern hospital.1-4 On open wards six different television stations usually blare in unison, drowning out not only the diastolic murmur but also the anamnesis. In semiprivate rooms the patient in the next bed is invariably a rock-and-roll addict. To this must be added the shouting in the corridors, the rattling of breakfast trays, the squeaking of medicine carts, the buzzing of machines, the hissing of monitors, and the banging of hospital doors.

Against this conspiracy of nonsilence even science is powerless. It can do no more than demonstrate that noise damages the hearing of adolescents listening to pop music,5 of infants in premature nurseries, and of children in intensive