Noise in the operating room (OR) contributes to miscommunication among team members and may negatively impact patient outcomes.
This study aimed to quantify noise levels during endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery. The secondary aim was to understand how OR team members perceive noise during endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery.
Noise levels were measured using the validated phone application SoundMeter X 10.0.4 (r1865) (Faber Acoustical, Utah, USA) at the ear-level of the surgeon, scrub nurse, circulating nurse, and anesthesiologist. At the end of each surgery, OR team members were asked to complete a six-question questionnaire about noise during that surgery.
One thousand four hundred and two noise measurements were recorded across 353 trials. The loudest mean noise measurement was 84.51 dB and maximum noise measurement was 96.21 dB at the ear-level of the surgeon. Noise was significantly higher at the ear-level of the surgeon and scrub nurse in comparison to the circulating nurse (p = .000) and anesthesiologist (p = .000). Forty percent of questionnaire respondents believed noise was a problem and 38% stated that noise caused communication issues during surgery.
Surgeons and scrub nurses have significantly higher noise exposure in comparison to circulating nurses and anesthesiologists during endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery. For these members of the OR team, noise is also identified as problematic and causing issues with communication. Mechanisms to reduce potential noise may be implemented to improve communication and patient outcomes in endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery.