Sounds of the ICU
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Sounds of the ICU

When you or your loved one is a patient in the intensive care unit, or ICU, it can be a scary time. Patients are in the ICU because they require specialized care. This sometimes means using machines and monitors, which make different beeping sounds to communicate messages to the care team. These beeps need to be loud enough so that the care team can hear them even when they are not inside the patient’s room. The ICU staff is trained to know which of these sounds need their immediate attention.

We hope to put your mind at ease by making you aware of some of the noises you may hear. A few of the most common pieces of equipment you will hear in the ICU are the IV pump, heart monitor, and mechanical ventilator.

It can be disturbing to hear equipment beeping in the ICU. We never like to disturb patients with these noises, but sometimes it is unavoidable. We are happy to explain to you what any of the sounds you hear mean. If you have a concern about a beep or other sound you are hearing, and it is not being addressed by a nurse or other provider, please bring it to our immediate attention.