Ambient noise levels in the chemotherapy clinic

Dana K. Gladd, Gabrielle H. Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Many of the drugs used for chemotherapy treatments are known to be ototoxic, and can result in permanent hearing threshold shifts. The degree of ototoxic damage can be influenced by many factors including dosage, duration of exposure, genetics, and coadministration with other ototoxic agents. Cisplatin is known for its ototoxic effects on hearing thresholds, particularly in the high frequencies. Recent studies have indicated a synergistic relationship between Cisplatin administration and moderate to high noise level exposure starting between 70-85 dB SPL. This study measured the noise levels in the Portland Veteran′s Affairs Medical Center′s outpatient chemotherapy clinic. Average (LAeq) and peak (LCpeak) noise measures were recorded every minute from 7 am until 6 pm on the two busiest clinic days. Patients, visitors, and staff members filled out anonymous surveys regarding their reactions to noise levels. Cumulative noise levels were not at levels known to interact with Cisplatin for a significant period of time. Noise measurement analysis indicated that levels were at or above 70 dB SPL for less than ten minutes during the 11-hour recording window. The patient and visitor surveys indicated that both groups were unbothered by noise in the clinic. However, most staff members were bothered by or concerned about noise levels, and many felt that it caused stress and difficulty communicating on the phone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-451
Number of pages8
JournalNoise and Health
Issue number55
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Cisplatin
  • Noise
  • Noise disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Speech and Hearing


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