Exposure to excessive noise during a neonates stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can create both immediate and long term health problems such as, hearing loss, neurological deficits, and sleep pattern disturbances. The use of earmuffs or earplugs to decrease the neonate’s exposure to noise can create a more stable environment to facilitate improved growth and development. The purpose of this research was to examine the use of earmuffs or earplugs to reduce the impact of noise on neonates. A systematic review of literature was conducted using online databases including CINAHL, ERIC, Ebsco Host, Medline, and PsychINFO. The search included a combination of the following terms: ‘preterm’, ‘neonate’, ‘NICU’, ‘noise’, ‘earplugs’, and ‘earmuffs’. Peer reviewed, articles published in the English language were examined that tested noise reduction devices in the NICU setting, hearing screening of neonates, and the effect of noise reduction interventions on physiologic changes in the preterm infant receiving care in the NICU. Results yielded 8 articles between the years of 1995 to 2017 which were synthesized for review. The results indicated that the use of earmuffs or earplugs in the NICU may offer a viable solution to reducing the effects of excessive noise on neonate’s growth and development. The use of earmuffs or earplugs has been shown to positively improve vital signs, increase growth, improve physiological and motor development, and improve sleep efficiency. Further research on larger sample sizes is needed in order to validate the findings and offer substantial evidence for its use in the clinical setting.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

D'Amato-Kubiet, Leslee


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

August 2017