Peak noise levels in hospital wards can be reduced by 20% by implementing a few simple measures, according to a new study.

The study, by researchers in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, found that by turning phone ringtones down at night, having staff wear soft-soled shoes and making changes to night call systems reduced noise levels.

The report published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing also highlighted the importance of displaying posters at nursing stations that showed noise was created by certain activities, and the impact of noise on patients and sleep promotion guidelines.

Average decibel levels were audited before and after the programme on three wards with a total of 92 beds, including a surgical ward, medical ward and orthopaedic ward.

The peak noise levels at the start of the study that were 96.48 decibels, for over 24 hours, went down to 77.52 decibels, which is an overall reduction of just under a fifth.