Ph. D. Project
Impact of noise on learning healthcare professionals performing operational tasks in a confined space
2023/06/01 - 2026/05/31
Other supervisor(s):
, Pr Bolmont Benoît (
We are confronted with noise pollution from a very early age: in day care centers, in the playground, in the classroom or at work. Noise is measured in
decibels (dB)*. The decibel is a logarithmic unit which means that a doubling of the acoustic energy, induced by a doubling of the number of people
speaking in a room, can induce an increase in the sound level of 3 decibels.

In French, there are many definitions to characterize the common noun "bruit". In a common way, it corresponds to "the whole of the sounds produced by vibrations, perceptible by the hearing". If we refer to the notion of human physiology, noise corresponds to an "acoustic phenomenon producing an auditory sensation considered unpleasant or annoying". Insofar as noise causes discomfort or a defect in the auditory system during the understanding of the sound signal, we prefer the second definition.

The biological effects of noise are not induced directly by the acoustic energy at the level of the auditory system, but by its impact on the individual in a global way. The difficulty in identifying these effects lies in the fact that each individual is unique and will not have the same tolerance to noise, depending on the type and quantity of exposure to the harmful sound source. This is found in many areas of professional activity and particularly in the operating room.


I have previously published a systemic review of the literature on comprehension in a noisy enclosed space of a teaching room. There is an impact on cognitive performance in noise with a correlation of cognitive performance and perception in noise for execution speed (r=0.39), memory (r=0.28), fast memory (r=0.26) and IQ (r=0.18). The overall association between global cognitive performance and perception in noise was r=0.31. There are also inflammatory and immunological changes. Noise has already been studied in general in the hospital and more specifically in the operating room in the form of music with repercussions on patients, surgeons in a simulation environment, in a real environment and on all persons present in the operating room. The conclusion of this last review shows that high noise levels (through music) seem to have a negative effect on patient outcomes and adversely affect the performance of those in the operating room. They emphasize the need for further research to evaluate surgical performance. Other than music in the operating room, there are no studies looking at the impact of noise without focusing solely on music other than a review of noise from mastoid milling by ENT surgeons. This study is only interested in noise exposure levels and not in its repercussions.

In an operating room, constant noise pollution is present with the use of anesthesia monitoring, handling of operating equipment, verbal exchanges or music. The operational tasks of the main actor in an operating room must be very precise and require a high level of concentration. Thus we could wonder about the impact of the noise pollution of an operating room on the concentration level of an operator?

The main hypothesis is the research of a correlation or not between the noise environment of an operating room and the concentration of an operator during the realization of an operational task.

In order to best answer this, we will begin our work with a review of the literature on noise in the operating room and the means of measuring
concentration already used. Then, a study protocol will be proposed in order to be able to answer our starting problem and to verify or not our hypotheses. This study protocol named ESC01 (evaluation /sound/ concentration /n°01) will be a prospective observational study on the evaluation of the concentration level of surgeons learning in an experimental environment (operating room of the surgical school of the CHRU of Nancy) during the realization of a precise operational task such as the suture of vessels.

The objective of this study is the objective evaluation of the concentration level of a practitioner learning in the operating room (surgeon) according to the surrounding noise pollution in an experimental environment.

The main objective of this study will be to investigate whether there is a correlation between the intensity or type of sound frequency present in an
operating room during the performance of an act and the concentration of the operator. In a secondary way, we will have to analyze if the level of
complexity of the act carried out by the operator is more impacted by the sound level present in the working environment.
Concentration, sounds, operating room, health professional, cognitive ergonomics
Biology, Signals and Systems in Cancer and Neuroscience