Few things will disrupt the personal aspect of doctor-patient confidentiality like hearing conversation from the next room (and knowing they can probably hear you).
The best time to address this kind of issue is during the construction of a new facility – a short consultation with Soundown technical staff can result in cost-effective design changes that will have a significant impact. Of course, many medical offices are older, or are created in existing buildings; however, there are still some effective retrofitting steps to increase patient privacy.
The first step in increasing patient privacy is to eliminate acoustic leakage. Noise that occurs in the speaking frequencies can easily pass through small openings, such as unsealed doors or duct work that provides a line-of-sight path between two spaces. These types of treatments should be addressed with your general or mechanical contractor.
Another common issue affecting privacy occurs when the walls of an exam room do not extend all the way to the roof above (or floor below). The ceiling is often finished with acoustic tiles, which do not sufficiently block noise travelling over the wall into the adjacent space (see fig 1). Soundown Ceiling Tile Treatments are installed on top of the existing ceiling tiles and create a barrier that keeps conversation limited to the people in the room.
Vocal noise also can travel through the walls in many cases. The addition of TuffMass in the cavity or over existing drywall is recommended. TuffMass-UL is a mass loaded vinyl (MLV) acoustic barrier that is UL listed for use in a range of wall and ceiling assemblies, ensuring safety and privacy. Figure 2 shows how TuffMass-UL may be used in new construction. For existing walls, TuffMass-UL can be added over the existing wall and behind a fresh layer of dry wall.
Here are a few products to consider when mitigating exam room sound leaks: