How does Construction Specialties' HUSH Curtain® measure up in an Acoustic Performance Assessment?

Experts agree that noise is rarely conducive to healing, and as such, the trend toward quieting healthcare spaces continues to be top of mind for many.  Whether indirect conversations, paging, emergency codes, or just the overall "hum" in what should be a quiet space, Construction Specialties (CS) has recognized the importance of sound-blocking material in its privacy curtains. The patented technology provided by CSHUSH Curtain® can significantly contribute to the enhancement of quiet healthcare settings.

Don't believe it? HUSH Curtain® has been put to the test, literally!In a recently published independent third-party acoustic performance assessment, HUSH passed with flying colors. In December 2020, the PACU at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, was the subject of this assessment performed by Tenor, an independent engineering group specializing in acoustic design and testing.From the original testing document authored by Erik Miller-Klein, CS is pleased to share a summary of those results within the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) bays.

Hush Curtain Testing

In order to measure and quantify the acoustical difference in this particular healthcare setting, the HUSH Curtain was compared to standard cloth curtains between the PACU bays.Three areas of difference were measured according to ASTM test methods; speech privacy, speech intelligibility, and the overall reduction of sound within the space.

Here is a breakdown of the results:

Speech Privacy
"The speech privacy was evaluated between PACU bays from bay 9 with and without standard curtains, and then with HUSH Curtain using the methods detailed in the ASTM E
1130 StandardTest  Method for Objective Measurement
of Speech Privacy in Open Plan Spaces Using Articulation Index. A 150-watt directional self-powered speaker emitted 90 dBA of pink noise, and the effective reduction of noise to each PACU location was documented with the curtains pulled back to the walls, with standard cloth curtains closed and with HUSH Curtain.” 


"In addition to evaluating the speech privacy between the PACU bays under the current unoccupied conditions, we estimated the effective speech privacy with sound masking at 42 dBA and 45 dBA when the census is less than10%. The ambient noise levels within the PACU were less than 37 dBA prior to patients arriving, 37 dBA is 40% quieter than the FGI maximum background noise level for multiple-occupant patient care area."


Reverberation Time (RT60)

"The reverberation time, the time it takes for sound to decay 60dB, was measured with both the standard curtains in a closed position and with the HUSH Curtain." "The reverberation time did not decrease substantially due to the type and extent of acoustical ceiling tile within the PACU. The reflected [sound] without curtains meets the performance goals, and the HUSH Curtain provides measurable improvement below 1.25 kHz. Though the primary perceived acoustical difference is the effect the curtains have on reducing the transmission of sound between PACU patient bays."


Hush Curtain Testing


Executive Summary

"This evaluation of the HUSH Curtain showed that for multi-bay configurations, like a PACU, the sound reduction through the curtains with background noise from normal activity provides "confidential" privacy within each patient bay. The HUSH  Curtain reduce the perception of intrusive noise by 35% to 50% compared to a standard cloth curtain. The encapsulated polyester core in the pocket of the curtain absorbs [and blocks ]reflected sound and increases the curtain's overall density to provide effective "acoustical" social distancing. To get the same effective sound privacy between patients with standard curtains, the distance between patient beds would need to be increased by 40% to 50%; for example, the acoustic distance between patients 15’-0" apart is equivalent to 37’-0" with standard cloth curtains. The perceived noise reduction will reduce acoustic fatigue for incidental alarms, conversations, and normal activities, improve bedside speech intelligibility when the staff are communicating with patients and families, and optimize the overall acoustical comfort for the staff and patients."


"The level of speech privacy and acoustic separation was evaluated based on sound transmission and reverberation measurements completed prior to any patients being present (unoccupied). The effective speech privacy, measured and evaluated in accordance with ASTM E1130, that patient's would perceive was estimated for 25% and 75% census for the standard cloth curtain and HUSH Curtain based on 24- hour measurements completed at similar open-bay PACUs. This is reported as the Privacy Index (PI); values less than 60 are noted by FGI to provide "No Privacy" for the patient, and values greater than 95 are providing "Confidential" privacy, which FGI notes is not normally attainable for open-plan spaces. Though with the HUSH Curtain and 25% or greater census, most bays have "confidential" privacy from the nurses' station and adjacent patient bays."


"The increased sound absorption [and blocking] from the HUSH Curtain will make each bay quieter even when there is a significant amount of activity from nurses, patients, equipment/activities, and families. This amount of sound absorption makes a space quieter and more intimate and makes sound very directional, which means nurses can clearly locate the source of crying and alarms."


Don't take our word for it; read all about it! Contact us to read the full report or discuss how CS HUSH Curtain® can work for your project.Or learn about CS' full range of privacy solutions here.


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