Why Sleep Study Labs Need Better Audio


Audio Monitoring for Sleep Studies

Polysomnography, also known as a sleep study, is a test used to diagnose patients with possible sleep disorders. Devices record brain waves, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing, along with eye and leg movements throughout the night. During these studies, cameras that produce both video and audio, are used in conjunction with medical sensors to verify the information and give a more complete picture for sleep physicians. Unfortunately, audio from built-in microphones inside video cameras can present challenges at playback. From unclear speech to picking up background noises, the needed audio recordings are not always clear enough for the doctors and technicians for analysis. 

“It can be a challenge to get a good system that records audio and video simultaneously,” said Bettina Stiles, clinical supervisor for sleep center manager SleepMed at Chest Medicine Associates, in an article for Sleep Review magazine. By utilizing specialty audio equipment––such as an external microphone–– that ties into a video camera feed, physicians can get clear, uninterrupted audio to go with their video. 

Audio Recommendations

audio monitoring for sleep studies

For medical labs designed for sleep studies, external microphones are recommended for optimal sound capture. Sound solutions like Louroe Electronics’ Verifact® A microphone can be placed on ceilings in patient rooms. For rooms with higher ceilings, the Verifact® B can drop down to hang closer to the bed to better pick up all audio. Capturing exceptional sound quality, Louroe’s suite of audio systems allow physicians to more effectively monitor and assess their patients. 

Below are a couple of examples that illustrate the important role of clear audio and video in helping doctors give a more accurate diagnosis.

Accurate Diagnosis

While patients are hooked up to a variety of sensors during their sleep study, certain disorders, like REM behavior disorder, can be better diagnosed through video and audio recordings paired with data. Patients with this disorder, or disorders like it, will attempt to act out their dreams. While some sensors may only show the patient as “asleep,” audio and video recordings will clearly show how the patient is moving and what they may be trying to say.

These recordings can also help to identify whether a patient is having seizure activity or just tossing and turning. The security technology can also help to confirm sleep talking and sleep walking disorders. 

Pediatric Cases

Getting good quality signals from the sensors placed on pediatric patients can be a challenge, especially with younger children, making audio and video verification a must for proper diagnosis. Clear audio paired with video can help physicians determine if a child’s breathing is labored, or if it is even matching what the sensors are indicating. In some cases, it can help determine whether perceived issues, such as sleep apnea, are even valid. 

In labs that allow co-sleeping with parents, audio monitoring for sleep studies and video can also help to isolate the pediatric patient’s rhythms and ensure that the parent is not influencing the results of the test. This also helps to document the type of interactions happening between parent and child during co-sleeping that they may not be aware of and could be harmful to the child, such as rolling over.