The main objective of (longterm) healthcare is to provide the best possible care to maintain and improve patient wellbeing. As long as the auditory environment is insufficiently taken into account, this objective cannot be realized, because the auditory environment strongly influences (physical and psychological) wellbeing. Optimizing the auditory environment in healthcare settings is a prerequisite for the best possible care quality. In fact, the auditory environment should be "safe and sound".
One of our researchers has spent four years researching soundscapes in residential facilities for people with intellectual disabilities. What is the role of sound in their lives? How do they give meaning to sounds? And what influences do al these sounds have on their feelings and behavior?
This work proved to be innovative and groundbreaking (ds Visscher award 2016 and Han Nakken research award 2016), but is also highly applicable to other care settings, such as residences for elderly with dementia, or hospitals. Simply by raising awareness to the role of sound, we see significant improvements of soundscape quality and associated with improvements in quality of life.