Influence of Quiet Time on the Auditory Environment of Infants in the NICU

Lauren Head Zauche, Michael S. Zauche, Bryan L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To determine the influence of quiet time on the auditory environment of infants in the NICU and to compare the effect of quiet time by room type, bed type, and infant clinical acuity. Design: Cross-sectional, descriptive comparison study. Participants: Sixty-six infants born at less than 38 weeks gestation who were between 32 and 40 weeks postmenstrual age. Setting: The auditory environments of infants in two level 3 NICUs within a pediatric hospital system in the Southeastern United States. Each NICU implemented quiet time for 4 hours per day. Methods: We assessed the auditory environment of the participants using Language Environmental Analysis technology. We used paired t tests to assess differences in the auditory environment during quiet versus nonquiet time and to compare the effect of quiet time by room type, bed type, and clinical acuity. Results: During quiet time, the auditory environment of participants had 13% more silence, 17% fewer electronic sounds, 25% less speech, and 30% fewer words than during nonquiet time. We observed greater differences in quiet time versus nonquiet time for infants in open bays and incubators and infants who had greater acuity. Conclusion: Our results support the implementation of quiet time to increase silence and reduce exposure to electronic sounds for infants in the NICU. Additional research is necessary to further examine the effect of quiet time on the auditory environment of infants in the NICU with consideration of environmental and clinical variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • auditory environment
  • language
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • preterm infants
  • quiet time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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