Music is the language of the soul. The use of music to improve patients’ hospital experience was first documented in 1914. Despite such an early introduction, the use of music it is not standard practice in hospitals today. This could be largely due to scepticism in the effectiveness of music.
73 studies included in the review.
Study size varied between 20-458 participants
Surgery ranged from minor keyhole surgery to transplants
The style of music for the intervention was mostly calming/soothing
Timing of music could be before, during or after surgery.
- Pain levels on a visual analogue scale (VAS)
- Length of stay in hospital
Though the results from study were highly variable, when they were analysed together it showed promising results.
- Music reduced pain scores by 2.3 points on a 10 point VAS
- Anxiety was reduced by 6.4 units (measured on a scale of 20-80 units, STAI)
- There was no change in the length of stay
Other interesting points:
- Patients that were allowed to choose their own music reported a slightly increased reduction of pain
- Playing music preoperative seem to have the most benefit in pain and anxiety.
What does it all mean?
From the study music appears to have minor benefits to reduce pain and anxiety in post-operative patients. However, the result in research is inconsistent.
Hole et al. (2015). Music as an aid for postoperative recovery in adults: A systematic review