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TV presents one picture of an intensive care unit (ICU) – dimmed lights, hushed voices and softly bleeping machines.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The reality is that it's more like a busy restaurant and frequently it's noisy enough to compete with a pneumatic drill. That's why Oxford University researchers have been trying to make intensive care noise less intensive.

Professor Duncan Young from Oxford's Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research and Education said: 'High levels of noise make it harder to sleep, sleep deprivation leads to confusion, and confusion is thought to complicate the healing process and slow recovery.

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