(NBC NEWS) Constantly beeping alarms from devices that monitor the vital signs of the critically ill have “desensitized” hospital workers who sometimes ignore the noise, leading to at least two dozen deaths a year on average, a hospital accrediting group said Monday.

And these cases are probably vastly underreported, said the Joint Commission in an alert to hospitals calling attention to the problem.

The beeping devices include those that measure blood pressure and heart rate, among other things. Some beep when there’s an emergency, and some beep when they’re not working. That can lead to noise fatigue and the delay in treating a patient can endanger lives, the accreditation commission says.

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