Noise And Disease

Sources: Papers On Health

Perhaps nothing shows more the lack of human

feeling in many people than the manner in which they inflict sore

distress on the sick and dying by means of noise. Moreover, recovery is

retarded, and has sometimes been wholly prevented, by nothing but a

noise. It must be understood that talking, and also singing, which

are delightful to some, become intolerable pain to the delicate and

weak. They really are worn out by them. And the wearing out is

real: it is a destruction of nerve substance, when the nerve of the

patient is already too feeble. Shutting doors violently, and the

endless "house noises," must be avoided. Even a long, loud prayer at

the bedside of the sick is utterly out of place. It may become

necessary, in order to prevent such abuses, to exclude from the

sick-room some who will be greatly offended thereby; but courage to

defend a patient against well-meaning intruders is one essential

qualification of a good nurse. Oil doors that squeak, fasten windows

that rattle, but above all keep quiet the tongues that clatter. Let

all whispering in the sick one's hearing be avoided. Speak quietly but

distinctly, so that the patient may not think you are hiding anything

from him. Wrap the coals in pieces of paper, so that they can be put on

the fire by hand, avoiding the noise of shovel or tongs.

No one has a right to do what distresses others, and especially when

they are sick. This principle should guide action. Acting thus will

give untold rest and ease to the troubled.