In this episode, we explore the future sound of hospitals, with ambient electronic musician and the founder of Sen Sound, Yoko Sen. In a recent episode, Marcia Jenneth Epstein, author of SOUND AND NOISE: A Listener's Guide to Everyday Life, spoke of how our sense of hearing still functions in a coma and is the last sense to go when we pass away, which raised the question, 'What's the last sound you'd like to hear?'Research has demonstrated that 72% to 99% of clinical alarms are false. The high number of false alarms has led to alarm fatigue. Alarm fatigue is sensory overload when clinicians are exposed to an excessive number of alarms, which can result in desensitization to alarms and missed alarms. Patient deaths have been attributed to alarm fatigue. Not only is this volume of sound stressful and exhausting for the clinicians and hospital staff, for the patients it's hardly conducive to their recovery.With Sen Sound, Yoko pursues a vision to transform the sound environment in hospitals. As a classically trained musician, sensitive to sound, she was disturbed by the noise she had experienced in hospitals as a patient. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to humanize the hospital experience by improving its soundscapes.Yoko has presented nationally and internationally, including TEDMED (2018) and Aspen Ideas Festival: Health (2019), and her work has been featured in New York Times, BBC, and STAT. Sen Sound’s initiative, “My Last Sound,” was selected as a Top Idea by Open IDEO’s End of Life challenge, involving hundreds of people from around the world sharing the last sound they wish to hear. Sen Sound has collaborated with companies such as Medtronic to improve the sound experience design of medical devices, and it has been named as a 2020 finalist for the International Design Excellence Award by the Industrial Designers Society of America. Sen Sound has produced a film, “Sounds of Caring: New York,” which has become an official selection at six film festivals internationally and won Bronze Award at Independent Short Awards (Sep 2020).
At this time of a global pandemic, clinicians and medical staff are under intense pressure. Treating an ever increasing number of patients and finding enough emergency beds is far more urgent a priority than sound and acoustics. Nevertheless, news of vaccinations provides hope that we are in the beginnings of an end to this global catastrophe. The work that Yoko does with Sen Sound, and the product development innovation of our Quiet Mark Certified Manufacturer partners, found on our acousticsacademy.com, will all combine to improve the future sound of the hospital experience, be that the joy of the birth of a new child, or the sad passing of a loved one.