Hearing management

Updated 27 January 2014

Music helps ease pain in anxious people

Concentrating on music can provide enough distraction to ease the pain of people with significant anxiety, according to a new study.

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By engaging the mind, melodies compete with pain pathways, researchers say

Concentrating on music can provide enough distraction to ease the pain of people with significant anxiety, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Centre studied the effectiveness of music as a pain reliever on 143 study participants. The volunteers were asked to follow a melody so they could identify the tones that stood out. While tackling the assignment, they received safe pain shocks with fingertip electrodes.

Consider personality of patients

The study, published in the issue of the Journal of Pain, found that pain was reduced as the demands of the music task rose. The researchers explained that the music competed with the participants' pain pathways. By triggering emotional responses and engaging the participants' minds, the music task helped to ease their pain.

Participants with the most anxiety about the pain became more engrossed in the music-listening task than those who were less anxious, according to a journal news release. The study authors suggested that experiencing little anxiety lowered the participants' ability to focus on the task.

The researchers concluded that people with a lot of anxiety who can become preoccupied by activities, such as listening to music, can reduce discomfort by using this type of pain-relief strategy.

Doctors should take patients' personality traits into consideration before suggesting pain therapies such as music, the authors said.

(HealthDay News, December 2011) 

 

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Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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