"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (I Corinthians 14:8, KJV).

  title={"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (I Corinthians 14:8, KJV).},
  author={Frank E. Block},
  journal={Anesthesia and analgesia},
  volume={106 2},
  • F. Block
  • Published 1 February 2008
  • Medicine
  • Anesthesia and analgesia
Frank E. Block, Jr., MD Every clinician is well aware of the problems with audible alarms: False alarms, loud alarms, difficulty determining what is alarming, and inability to quiet an alarm all create distractions that impede patient care. These problems are complicated by the different approaches to alarms among devices. Devices designed by various manufacturers may use different alarm sounds to identify similar events or, alternately, similar sounds may be produced to identify unrelated… 

Comparison of the identification and ease of use of two alarm sound sets by critical and acute care nurses with little or no music training: a laboratory study

The melodic alarm sound set for medical electrical equipment that was recommended in the International Electrotechnical Commission's IEC 60601‐1‐8 standard has proven difficult for clinicians to

Medical audible alarms: a review

  • J. Edworthy
  • Computer Science
    J. Am. Medical Informatics Assoc.
  • 2013
This paper summarizes research that demonstrates that false alarm rates are unacceptably high, meaning that the proper application of auditory alarm design principles are compromised, and proposes approaches to reducing alarm fatigue.

Recommendation of New Medical Alarms Based on Audibility, Identifiability, and Detectability in a Randomized, Simulation-Based Study.

A set of eight auditory icon alarms that were selected through formative testing and validated through summative testing for adoption by relevant regulatory bodies and medical device manufacturers are proposed.

Getting Better Hospital Alarm Sounds Into a Global Standard

This article describes the process of first designing and then testing potential replacement audible alarm signals for IEC 60601-1-8, starting with the design of several sets of candidate sounds and initial tests on learnability and localizability, followed by testing in simulated clinical environments.

Updating an International Medical Device Standard: A Process for Audible Alarms

The progress of this project aimed at improving and updating these sounds according to best practice is charted and the results and the published papers which present those results are summarized.

Medical Audible Alarms and IEC 60601-1-8

This symposium discusses and presents progress in developing both new audible alarms for IEC 60601-1-8 and a framework for evaluation, covering the processes of design, usability in middleware, testing sounds in realistic work environment, and masking.

A Review of Design Guidelines for Clinical Auditory Alarms

The reported problems with clinical auditory alarms are identified; early and current audio design guidelines are revisited; and recommendations or good-practices on healthcare noise are systematized, considering spectral, temporal and spatial characteristics of auditory alarms.

Testing of Auditory Clinical Alarms in ICU/CCU

It can be concluded the auditory alarm designed based on this IEC 60608-1-8:2006 standard is not effective and it is proposed that incorporation of the new alarm frequencies and tones will improve the effectiveness of the alarm signal.

Auditory displays in anesthesiology

Auditory display in anesthesia can extend well beyond auditory alarms to displays that give the anesthesiologist a continuous peripheral awareness of patient well being and much more rigorous approaches should be taken to evaluating auditory displays so they add information rather than noise.

The Recognizability and Localizability of Auditory Alarms: Setting Global Medical Device Standards

Objective Four sets of eight audible alarms matching the functions specified in IEC 60601-1-8 were designed using known principles from auditory cognition with the intention that they would be more



Are there too many alarms in the intensive care unit? An overview of the problems.

There are many reported problems with auditory warnings in critical care areas of hospitals such as the intensive care unit (ICU) and operating room; many of them are unnecessarily loud and continuous, which can be irritating and annoying for staff.

Measuring the performance of audible alarms for anaesthesia

The ergonomic performance of an integrated set of 17 audible alarm sounds, divided into low, medium and high priority classes, has been undertaken and how closely their intrinsic perceived urgency matched to a clinical assessment of urgency was matched.

Are Melodic Medical Equipment Alarms Easily Learned?

The slow rate of learning and persistent confusions suggest that the IEC 60601-1-8 melodic alarms should be redesigned before they are adopted for clinical practice.

Auditory alarms during anesthesia monitoring with an integrated monitoring system

This study performed a similar study with 50 adult patients under general anesthesia with default alarm settings on an integrated monitor, (Cardiocap™, Datex, Helsinki); the number of alarms averaged 3 per case with a mean frequency of one every 34 minutes.

Overlapping Melodic Alarms Are Almost Indiscriminable

Because of a failure of auditory stream segregation, the melodic alarms cannot be discriminated when they overlap, and directives to sequence the sounding of alarms in medical electrical equipment must be strictly adhered to, or the alarms must redesigned to support better auditory streaming.

Learnability and discriminability of melodic medical equipment alarms *

Melodic alarms proposed in the IEC 60601‐1‐8 standard for medical electrical equipment were tested for learnability and discriminability and confusion persisted between pairs of alarms, especially if mnemonics were used during learning.

Alarms and human behaviour: implications for medical alarms.

There are some indications that alarm design and implementation takes account of relevant research data, but that there is still some way to go before these findings are fully integrated and the situation is improved upon further.

Cognitive psychology and the design of alarm sounds.

International electrotechnical commission

  • J. Eccles
  • Political Science
    Journal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers
  • 1920
Meetings of the Advisory Technical Committees of the International Electrotechnical Commission were held in Brussels March 27th to April 1st. The meetings were attended by delegates from eight