Reduction of Environmental Noise Impact on Preterm Babies in NICU by Using Ear Plugs

Parimala V Thirumalesh, Mathew Jaison Thekkanath


Objective − To determine if using ear plugs reduce the impact of noise on preterm babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units in terms of changes in their vital parameters and their discomfort level, assessed using the Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS) score.

Materials and Methods − This is an interventional study conducted in a tertiary level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (Bangalore, India) over a period of 3 months, ranging from June 2022 to September 2022. This study included 20 preterm babies with different gestational ages and birth weights who were admitted to the NICU during that period. The babies’ response to noise, in terms of changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and discomfort level, were assessed with ear plugs and without ear plugs on alternate days and the results were recorded. Descriptive statistics were used for statistical analysis.

Results − On days 1 and 3, mean heart rate and systolic blood pressure were lower in babies wearing ear plugs (141.55±2.42 SD and 60.1±11.58, respectively) than in the same babies without ear plugs (157.55±2.52 SD and 61.85±1.6 SD, respectively) on days 2 and 4. The mean oxygen saturation was higher in babies wearing ear plugs (96.7%±0.80 SD) than in the same babies without the intervention (93.75%±1.29 SD). The mean NIPS score was lower with the intervention (2.05±0.22) than without ear plugs (5.05±0.22 SD).

Conclusion – Ear plugs were an effective alternative in situations where noise in the NICU cannot be consistently maintained at a lower level than the standard recommendation by the AAP of 45 decibels.


Preterm; Tertiary NICU; Noise Reduction; Ear Plugs

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The full text of articles published in this journal can be used free of charge for personal and educational purposes while respecting authors and publishers' copyrights. For commercial purposes no part of this journal may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.