Favorite Music May Ease Anxiety in ICU Patients

Those who listened to well-loved tunes in study needed less sedation medicine

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It was vital to allow patients to choose their own music. "We all have musical memories, and those types of music we have pleasant memories from we need to maximize," Chlan said.

Music also has been shown to reduce levels of stress hormones in the body, and can block out the disconcerting background noises that occur in a hospital setting, she said.

"Music provides a very complex auditory stimulus," Chlan said. "It can occupy areas of the brain with a pleasant comforting stimulus, which can block out unpleasant hospital stimulus. People think, 'Oh, music is just something nice to listen to,' but it's so much more than that."

More information

Visit the American Music Therapy Association to learn more about the connection between music and health.

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