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Effects of music in hospitals

Can music in hospital settings be beneficial? What kinds of beneficial effects can music have in this context?


In general, music has been reported as beneficial in healthcare settings. Listening to music can have positive effects in particular areas of hospitals according to a report. Those areas were:

  • Neonatal care (significant improvement in clinical and behavioural states, reducing the length of stay in hospital)
  • Cancer care (reducing anxiety and depression)
  • Cardio-vascular units (reducing anxiety and blood pressure, heart rate and demand for myocardial oxygen)
  • Surgery (reducing stress (cortisol levels) and anxiety, helping to control vital signs, reducing requirements for sedatives during the post-operative recovery period, and staying 1 day less in hospital).

During medical procedures, music has been found to increase the perception of comfort, to reduce the levels of cortisol (a hormonal indicator of stress), and to significantly control blood pressure levels.

Finally, music has also been associated with pain management reductions on physiological and psychological variables related to pain indicators.
Staricoff, R.L. Arts in health: a review of the medical literature. Available at:, accessed 4 September, 2013.

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