Nav: Home

Device helps ICU patients by filtering out noise from medical alarms

June 21, 2017

A team of investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center wants to improve patient outcomes in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) settings by silencing audible medical alarms in hospital rooms.

Auditory medical alarms have created hazards for patient recovery, said Joseph J. Schlesinger, M.D., assistant professor of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt. His team has created a device that removes the alarm sounds while preserving the patient's ability to hear human and environmental stimuli, notably speech.

The findings, "Frequency-Selective Silencing Device for Digital Filtering of Audible Medical Alarm Sounds to Enhance ICU Patient Recovery," were presented at the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD) at Penn State this week. The paper highlights how loud noises produced by clinical alarms contribute to psychological problems like delirium and PTSD and provides innovative solutions to enhance the patient experience.

"The shrill and quantity of audible medical alarms are responsible for many negative consequences for patients," said Schlesinger. "The noise of the alarm combined with its frequency often disturbs patients' sleep patterns, which can be very disorienting.

"We wanted to create a way that clinicians would still be alerted to necessary patient alarms, while providing a better environment for the patient's healing process," he said. "The question became - how do we filter out the alarms from the patient experience without harming the patient's ability to hear and comprehend speech as well as be in tune to other environmental sounds?"

Schlesinger collaborated with students from Vanderbilt University Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a device worn by the patient that eliminates alarm sounds from the patient perspective by digitally subtracting sound waves while preserving and improving speech comprehension.

The team tested the in-ear device in a simulated ICU environment. The results showed clinical and statistical improvement in alarm filtering.

Schlesinger hopes his team's findings will spark collaborations across the country to further develop devices that are medical grade, affordable and reusable.

"This will need further study in large patient populations to look at patient outcomes, benefits and safety," he said. "I anticipate we will have some interest from multiple sites to investigate use in patients.

"Future directions also include a device for clinicians that would transmit the alarm signals directly to the nurse and physician caring for a particular patient."

Schlesinger holds adjunct faculty appointments in Vanderbilt's School of Nursing, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, and the Division of Biomedical Engineering within the School of Engineering.

In addition to his faculty appointment at Vanderbilt, he is a research member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, and an Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
-end-


Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?
If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake.
Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme
Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world's biggest environmental problems.
A new way to do metabolic engineering
University of Illinois researchers have created a novel metabolic engineering method that combines transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion, and executes them simultaneously, making the process faster and easier.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.