Effect of Various OR Noise on Fine Motor Skills, Cognition, and Mood

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Background. The amalgam of noises inherent to the modern-day operating room has the potential of diluting surgeon concentration, which could affect surgeon performance and mood and have implications on quality of care and surgeon resilience. Objective. Evaluate the impact of operating room environmental noises on surgeon performance including fine motor dexterity, cognition, and mood. Methods. 37 subjects were tested under three different environmental noise conditions including silence, a prerecorded soundtrack of a loud bustling operating room, and with background music of their choosing. We used the Motor Performance Series to test motor dexterity, neuropsychological tests to evaluate cognitive thinking, and Profile of Mood States to test mental well-being. Results. Our results showed that typical operating room noise had no impact on motor dexterity but music improved the speed and precision of movements and information processing skills. Neurocognitive testing showed a significant decrement from operating room noise on verbal learning and delayed memory, whereas music improved complex attention and mental flexibility. The Profile of Mood States found that music resulted in a significant decrease in feelings of anger, confusion, fatigue, and tension along with decreased total mood disturbance, which is a measure of psychological distress. Loud operating room noise had a negative impact on feelings of vigor but no increase in total mood disturbance.

Conclusion. Our results suggest that loud and unnecessary environmental noises can be distracting to a surgeon, so every effort should be taken to minimize these. Music of the surgeons’ choosing does not negatively affect fine motor dexterity or cognition and has an overall positive impact on mood and can therefore be safely practiced if desired.




Cara Marie Rogers, Hannah Palmerton, Brian Saway, Devin Tomlinson, and Gary Simonds, “Effect of Various OR Noise on Fine Motor Skills, Cognition, and Mood,” Surgery Research and Practice, vol. 2019, Article ID 5372174, 5 pages, 2019. doi:10.1155/2019/5372174