The Sound of Music

Most of us recognize music as something to enjoy in our spare time or as a way to relax, but did you know music has other health benefits – both physical and mental. USA Today recently reported on a number of health benefits gained from listening to music. Check out what the “sound of music” may do for you and your patients:

Physical health

  • Ease pain. Music has been shown to reduce the perceived intensity of pain. Geriatric care was cited as an area where this can be most effective.
  • Improve running performance.  The sound of music, especially an individual’s “pump up” music, may help people run faster and boost workout motivation.
  • Increase workout endurance.  Partly due to distraction, research finds that when we focus on favorite music, we may be less focused on a tough exercise session and are able to “go-the-extra-mile”.
  • Improve sleep quality. Classical music has been shown to treat insomnia in college students. Great news for Audiology students, because we all know when exam time comes study time increases to the detriment of bedtime!
  • Help people eat less. Playing soft music and dimming the lights during a meal can help people slow down while eating.  When we eat slower we recognize “fullness cues” easier.
  • Enhance blood vessel function.  A study found that listening to music made people happier which helped increase blood flow in their blood vessels.

Mental health

  • Reduce stress. Listening to music can trigger the release of biochemical stress reducers.
  • Induce meditative state.  Listening to slow musical beats can alter brainwave speed similar to a person who is meditating which can have therapeutic value.
  • Relieve symptoms of depression. Choice matters in this study.  The USA Today article reported “classical and meditative sounds seem to be particularly uplifting, whereas heavy metal and techno can actually make depressive symptoms worse.”
  • Elevate mood. Participants in this study ranked “mood regulation” and “self-awareness” as the two most important benefits to listening to music.
  • Improve cognitive performance. Recent research is finding that improvement in cognitive tasks may be dependent on how the particular music improves the person’s emotional state first.
  • Better performance in stressful situations. Since basketball season is here it is good to know one study found “that basketball players prone to performing poorly under pressure during games were significantly better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music and lyrics.”
  • Relax patients before surgery. A study found that for cardiovascular surgery listening to music helped patients relax as they waited.
  • Ease stress after surgery. Listening to music while in bed helped open heart surgery patients have less stress while recovering.
  • Improve mood while driving.  A good tip for those rush hour commutes! Listening to music while driving can have positive impacts on your mood.

We see the impacts of our work every day as we help patients hear better and clearer. It is great to know that improving their “sound of music” can benefit them in other ways as well.

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