News / Health

Studies Explore Impact of Music and the Brain

Music therapist Elizabeth Klinger, right, quietly plays guitar and sings for a baby as he grips the hand of his mother in the newborn intensive care unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, May 6, 2013.
Music therapist Elizabeth Klinger, right, quietly plays guitar and sings for a baby as he grips the hand of his mother in the newborn intensive care unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, May 6, 2013.
Richard Paul
Hospitals employ many therapeutic methods.  In addition to medication, there are interventions like massage therapy and hypnosis.  So why use music? 

“There’s a couple of reasons for music.  One - it’s very inexpensive,” said Dr. Sandra Siedliecki, a senior scientist at the Nursing Institute of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.  

Also, she says we’ve done a lot of research on music's impact on pain.

“Especially Dr. Marian Good who did an awful lot on acute pain and music," she said. "She did a lot of studies looking at abdominal surgery patients and the use of music.”

In those studies, as in many others, patients listened to relaxing music.

Good found that her surgery patients took fewer opioids drugs when they listened to music.  Taking fewer drugs is beneficial, Siedliecki says, because pain drugs are limited by their side effects.  

“You get to the point where one more pill and the side effects aren’t quite worth it,” she said.

While Good had looked at acute pain, no one had ever studied chronic pain - the kind that just won’t go away.

“People with chronic pain feel powerless.  They’ve already tried everything," Siedliecki said. "There’s no choices left, so they feel powerless to do anything that’s going to make it better.”

Siedliecki was looking to address that powerlessness as well as patients’ depression, disability and - of course - pain. 

Studies Explore Impact of Music and the Brain
Studies Explore Impact of Music and the Braini
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

For Dr. Linda Chlan the problem wasn’t patients’ pain, it was anxiety.  Chlan, who is a professor of symptom management research in the Nursing School at Ohio State University, has spent a lot of time with people who are in the hospital because they can’t breathe.  People in this condition are often put on mechanical ventilators, and she says, “I was always struck by the profound distress that these patients experience regardless of the amount of medications that we gave them.”

It wasn’t just that the sedatives sometimes didn’t work, she said, “sometimes they would get more anxious and more anxious.”

And just like with Siedliecki's pain patients, the drugs these people are taking have nasty side-effects.  

“We had two primary aims of this study: To reduce anxiety as well as sedative exposure," Chlan said. "If they can control a non-pharmacological intervention in the form of relaxing, preferred music, can that have a beneficial effect?”

Chlan had nurses remind patients that music was an option and they also posted signs near their beds that said “Listen to your music at least twice today.”

Another group in her study used noise-cancelling headphones with no music.  A third group got standard care.  Siedliecki's study also had three groups: A standard music group, who listened to music from past studies, another group who were allowed to pick their own music and a group that got standard treatment.  The results were positive in both studies. 

For Siedliecki's patients “when you look at it overall, power, pain, depression and disability as a group improved in the music groups,” she said.   

Chlan’s study looked to decrease both the intensity and the frequency of the drugs people had to take.  She also found that music worked.

“We could reduce anxiety in mechanically-ventilated patients who were in this study, while we could also reduce the amount and the frequency of medication that these patients received,” she said.

The people who listened to music needed fewer sedative doses and had a 36 percent reduction in the intensity or the amount of medication they received.  In addition, their anxiety was reduced by 36.5 percent.  Both doctors had similar explanations for why music was so successful.

“Music operates on many levels," said Chlan. "It can be a very powerful distractor in the brain, where we’re listening to something that is pleasing and then it interrupts those stressful thoughts.”

“Music can be a distraction," Siedliecki said. "And if you’re doing something you enjoy, time seems to go by faster.”

These doctors seem to agree with that old line from the Bob Marley song, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 40 years a nurse from: Florida
December 14, 2013 5:49 PM
While I have been a nurse for over 40 years and I am happy to see nursing and medicine discover the wonders of the use of music as treatment, I am saddened by the fact that the profession of music therapy is rarely given any credit for the past and continuing research that has and is being done.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid