About DrAlice

Dr. Alice Cash is one of the world’s few clinical musicologists. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, she brings to her work over 40 years of professional experience as a college professor, clinical therapist, solo and chamber music performer and composer. Since 1990, Dr. Cash has been in the field of Music Medicine and conducted clinical research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, under the guidance of Dr. Joel Elkes, Dr. Leah Dickstein, and Dr. Rif El-Mallakh. Her clinical work at the University of Louisville lead to her career in music medicine. In addition to her work with the University of Louisville, Dr. Cash lead the development of using music a hospital setting at Baptist East Hospital, Louisvile, KY. She has founded 3 companies: Healing Music Enterprises, Surgical Serenity Solutions and Crescent Hill Counseling.
"Tune Your Life with Music!"

During surgery, what do staff talk about in the OR?

Cataract Surgery with Bluetooth headphones and Surgical Serenity Lullaby playlist

Dr Cash’s cataract surgery using Bluetooth headphones and Surgical Serenity playlist

I read a very interesting post yesterday and the source will remain anonymous. A nurse who worked in surgery 30-40 years ago said that during whatever procedure the surgeon was doing, he was talking to the patient the entire time. Even though the patient was under general anesthesia, the surgeon addressed him as Mr. ____ and explained everything he was doing, as he was doing it. He also added positive comments such as “the operation is going very well,” “you’re going to recover quickly and easily from this,” and “you will feel so much better for having had this procedure.”

He did not allow any OR chatter among the staff or talk about the patient as though he couldn’t hear them. I wonder how often this happens today, around the world?

Having surgery is a very frightening experience for many people. Just recently I was told that I need to have a biopsy on my thyroid and I am truly not looking forward to that! But surgeries, biopsies, and testing of all kinds are daily occurrences around the world.  Modern medicine has created many, many procedures that involve probing into the body to eliminate, destroy, or treat illness.

While this is going on, the patient benefits from being as calm as possible!  I actually love the idea of the doctor talking to the patient throughout the procedure, especially if it’s calm, positive talk.  I have heard from so many patients that even under general anesthesia, or perhaps as they were waking up, they heard OR staff discussing their lunch or dinner plans, their date the night before, or topics totally unrelated to their surgery or procedure. That does NOT feel good.  Patients don’t want to feel like their procedure is not that important to the people who are conducting it.

Actually, the turning point for me was when I heard that a surgeon in a large downtown hospital here was playing “Another one bites the dust” by QUEEN during most of his surgeries!  I was horrified! That is not funny or cute and is extremely disrespectful. How much kinder, healing, and respectful is addressing the patient directly with words that calm, soothe, and encourage the patient to begin healing. Think about it.

In the meantime, if  is not your practice to talk to the patient that you’re operating on, you should know that research shows that when patients listen to soothing music through headphones, they recover better and with less PONV. Get your patients the Surgical Serenity Solutions preloaded headphones, with soothing, slow and completely instrumental music. They will definitely thank you for this!


More about getting a healthcare facility license


Are you a healthcare facility, or are you affiliated with a healthcare facility?  Does your healthcare facility play music for its patients as part of surgery, MRI, or other procedures?  Are you currently using a Pandora, Spotify, or Apple Family Sharing account?  If so, STOP!  You are subject to large fines, UNLESS you purchase a healthcare license from ASCAP or BMI.


Now that more and more hospitals are seeing the research studies documenting the power of soothing music through headphones for the patient, it’s really important to know that you’re getting music that is already licensed by the company who is selling the pre-loaded headphones.

When I had the idea to create pre-loaded headphones back in 2005, I learned about how medical facilities were mainly using music chosen by the surgeons for the surgeons.  I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give the patient soothing music through headphones.  Some surgeons knew intuitively that this was a good idea but most surgical staffs did not have the time or the know-how to create playlists that would be soothing and comforting for the patient and would take them through pre-op into surgery, through surgery, and then into recovery.

And then music became digitized and MP3 players or iPods were an option. And then Pandora and Spotify and Apple Family Sharing came along and some hospitals had music therapists or nurses or even surgeons who started making some playlists for surgeons. For a decade or more this was a growing phenomenon.  During that time Surgical Serenity Solutions was marketing to patients and they were buying our pre-loaded headphones and taking them in to their surgeries.

Around 2018-19, just before Covid hit, Surgical Serenity Solutions started marketing primarily to hospitals and in the course of making that switch, I learned that ASCAP, the national organization that licenses all music, had decided to create a healthcare license that hospitals could purchase for a nominal fee in order to create their own playlists to offer patients. As of January 1, 2019 hospitals were required to purchase a healthcare license in order to use Pandora, Spotify or Apple Family Sharing.

The problem with this option is that music therapists usually don’t have the time and surgeons and nurses don’t have the know-how to choose music that will result in reduced anxiety and pain perception.

Elderly patient wearing headphones after surgery

Woman relaxed wearing headphones before surgery

So a great alternative is to purchase Surgical Serenity Solutions (SSS) pre-loaded headphones because:

  1.  the music is legal to use because it is commissioned and owned by SSS, in the public domain, performed by myself, a concert pianist, or already licensed by me for sale.
  2.  the music is scientifically chosen and shown to engage rhythmic entrainment, reduce anxiety and lower pain perception.

Of course if you want to buy a license for your hospital or Ambulatory Surgery Center, you can do that. But most busy surgeons simply don’t have the time to do that and music therapists typically don’t work with surgical patients by creating playlists for them to use in the  perioperative period.

If YOUR hospital or center wants to learn more, you can go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/preloaded-headphones-for-hospitals/

For a white paper that I wrote for physicians about the benefits of music for patients,  go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/4-reasons.

If you have any questions at all please contact me immediately by filling out the form at https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/contact-us/. We look forward to answering all of your questions and helping you and your patients to understand the benefits of music during surgery and provide you with ready-to-go pre-loaded headphones that have already been proven effective to hundreds and thousands of patients.  Our music is also available to license for hospital so that patients could bring their own bluetooth headphones and stream our surgical playlists.  You can go HERE to hear samples of this music.

Step into the future of music with surgery and hospitals providing the best in scientifically curated and sequenced music!  Surgical Serenity Solutions is the future!



Mozart and Surgery: powerful results

Elderly patient wearing headphones after surgery

Woman relaxed wearing headphones before surgery

Mozart is a composer that even non-musicians have probably heard of.  And ever since the early 1990’s Mozart’s name has been associated with potential health benefits.  “The Mozart Effect” was in media and print news around the world and CDs were created to play for babies both before and after birth.  This lasted for about a decade and then faded away quite a bit.

A new study on music with surgery came out today

Until today! This morning a new study came out about the use of Mozart’s music during surgery and it’s exciting! The particular surgical procedure was a total thyroidectomy. The summary of this study states:


Purpose: Pain has always been a major concern in postoperative care. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of Mozart music on postoperative pain and physiological parameters in patients who underwent total thyroidectomy.

Methods: Patients scheduled for total thyroidectomy were randomly assigned to a music group or a control group. The music intervention was applied immediately after surgery, whereas the control group received only usual care. Measurements of pain perception and physiological parameters were performed before, during, and after the music intervention in the music group and at the same time points in the control group. Pain was evaluated with the visual analog scale.

Results: In a study population of 50 patients, a higher rate of decrease in pain was observed in the music group after the first 10 min of the music intervention compared to the control group (estimate = – 1.329; 95% CI [- 2.490, – 0.169]). Music also reduced respiratory rate by 1.31 rates/min more in the music group than in the control group at every assessment point (95% CI [- 2.171, – 0.451]). Changes in the remaining physiological parameters were not statistically significant between the music and the control group and within each group.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the use of music during immediate postoperative care after thyroidectomy could accelerate pain relief and lead to a greater decline of respiratory rate compared to that achieved in usual care.

Why Mozart? Would another composer or genre do as well?

I have already corresponded with the lead researcher of this study who is in Greece.  We need to know what the specific piece by Mozart was as well as whether the music was delivered through headphones or ambiently (through speakers in the room.)

As a clinical musicologist, I would also like to know how they decided to used Mozart instead of another classical composer or how they decided on the specific composition by Mozart that they used. As medical-surgical science goes forward, we need lots of detail about how specifically music can help patients in the perioperative area.

The Opioid Crisis around the world is very much still alive and music is one of the EASY ways to decrease opioid usage during and after a surgery.  Pain is always going to be a problem during and after surgery but rather than just “hope” you won’t get addicted, how about asking your surgeon and your hospital if they have our pre-loaded headphones ready and waiting for you. Many hospitals around the world have made these available for their patients. Here’s the link for your hospital to order.

If your hospital does not have them yet you can order a single pair for yourself!  Just click here.  


Choosing your best music for surgery

waiting before cataract surgery

Reading about Surgical Serenity headphones and music before cataract surgery.

Are you having surgery soon? And have you heard all the chatter about how much music can improve your outcomes? Examples of important surgical outcomes are:

  • Stabilized blood pressure after surgery
  • Oriented to time and place after surgery
  • Stabilized body temperature
  • Able to be discharged to home sooner
  • Able to eat small, bland meals within a few hours

How is music able to do this?  The biggest reason is that when music is introduced prior to surgery, less anxiety and pain medication may be needed as well as less anesthesia.

But how do you go about choosing YOUR best music; the music that will decrease your anxiety and your pain perception. It can really be a daunting task because we’re all different and there are so many options.

Characteristics of music appropriate for surgery

Here are some characteristics of the ideal music for you:

  • Familiarity: The best music for surgery isn’t necessarily familiar music but it could be. The reason that familiarity is not necessarily a plus is because you might have a negative association with a piece that you know.
  • Tempo: It likely will not be music with a fast tempo although it could be somewhat upbeat. Music with a steady pulse is preferable so that your breathing and heartbeat can begin to synchronize with it.
  • Volume: It doesn’t have to be super soft or quiet, but it definitely won’t be loud. That’s because the music should be calming and loud music can be jarring and intrusive, even if you like it. Remember, you’re not going to dance to the music during surgery.
  • Lyrics: An instrumental version of a song, or a piece of music that was written for instruments alone would be best.  Lyrics can feel like too much when you’re filled with anxiety and feeling pain. And there are some lyrics that are negative.  Music should be like a warm, comforting blanket that a kind nurse lays over you while you’re waiting to be pushed into the operating theater.
  • Genre: Today there are many different types or genres of music.  The music genres that Surgical Serenity Solutions offers include Classical, Jazz, New Age, Lullabies, and Memory Care.  But there are hundreds of others, not to mention music from other cultures that utilize different instruments and musical scales. We have chosen the music that patients in the Western hemisphere seem to ask for the most.

What about “Binaural Beats” music?

The concept of “binaural beats” has been around since the 1830s but its application to surgery is relatively recent. What are binaural beats? Binaural beats occur when a different pitch is delivered to each ear, usually through headphones, and the brain automatically creates a third pitch that has a calming or possibly healing effect. There have been some studies demonstrating benefits from using binaural beats.

My preference is not to use binaural beats but instead to use more traditional therapeutic music that incorporates melodic phrases and steady, rhythmic patterns.  When this is done, the body’s natural rhythmic activity, such as heartbeat and breathing, synchronizes to the pulse of the music. This is called rhythmic entrainment.  Meanwhile beautiful music transports the patient from a place of fear and anxiety to a state of relaxation.

Binaural Beats or Rhythmic entrainment

While there are hundreds of studies available about benefits of calming music before and after surgery, there are only a few studies about binaural beats before and after surgery. Some people respond better to actual “music” whether classical, jazz, or New Age, while “binaural beats” are not really music.

According to WebMD “A binaural beat is an illusion created by the brain when you listen to two tones with slightly different frequencies at the same time.” They go on to say that

“There is a lack of clinical research for binaural beats. The evidence for the frequency-following effect is conflicting and inconclusive. Talk to your doctor before trying to use binaural beats for any health reasons.”

Claimed benefits of binaural beats include:

  • Increased creativity and cognitive enhancement
  • Reduced anxiety and improved mood
  • Helping you enter a meditative state
  • Improved sleeping habits
  • Helping to improve focus, attention, and memory retention

There are also potential side-effects…

Side effects of binaural beats (from WebMD)

Depression. Some studies have linked binaural beats to increased feelings of depression. Some people who listened to binaural beats experienced short bursts of anxiety, anger, and confusion that lasted for a short time.

However, there is inconclusive research supporting binaural beat as a stand-alone medical treatment tool. Binaural beat therapy can’t be used in place of conventional therapy, but it could be used as a complementary strategy if discussed with a doctor. Research shows that binary beats are good for mental health as it’s linked to encouraging positive feelings.As many binaural beats are freely available, the reactions to the beats vary from one individual to another. Individuals need to experiment with different binary beats to find ones that suit them. The effectiveness of binaural beats depends on the listener. Some people will find the beats effective. Others might find them irritating and unproductive.”

From my perspective as a music medicine practitioner and a clinical musicologist, I prefer to recommend actual music rather than binaural beats.  And most of my music therapy colleagues agree.

Back to the best kinds of music for your surgical experience

I’ve explained my reasons for preferring music that incorporates rhythmic entrainment by way of melodies and harmony and more traditional rhythms. In the long run, it becomes a question of musical preference and taste, also, there’s been much more scientific research using traditional music with surgery.

The music that serves you best during surgery is the music that will give you the results that you want.

If you feel that you can choose the right music based on the 5 criteria listed above AND if you have the time and ability to put together your own playlist for surgery, you can do that.  BUT, many, many people simply do not have the time to do that or that knowledge of how to do this.

That’s why Surgical Serenity Solutions decided back in 2005 to do it for you! So often, the need for surgery comes suddenly and without warning.

My story and why I started Surgical Serenity Solutions

This is what happened to me in 1995 when I was told that I needed back surgery for a ruptured disk.  I was shocked that nothing else could be done at that time.  Because I am a professional musician in addition to being a clinician, I literally stayed up all night creating a cassette tape that had my favorite calming, soothing music. I was also fortunate to have a neurosurgeon who was happy to let my bring that Walkman into surgery, along with headphones that plugged into it.  I’ll never forget him taping the Walkman to the operating table and saying that it would be safe there and not get in his way.

My outcomes were great and the surgical team all felt that the music had helped me to go through the surgery with less medication for anxiety and pain.  I had a pain pump afterwards but I never touched it!  I never needed it.

After I was home I started thinking about how many millions of people could benefit from music during their surgery but would likely have no clue how to make that happen.  In 2005 I had the idea to have headphones that could be pre-loaded with a chip inserted that would have the ideal slow, soothing music in different genres.

What is now ready and available for you to purchase so you don’t have to feel so helpless

Elderly patient wearing headphones after surgery

Woman relaxed wearing headphones before surgery

TODAY, we have the Surgical Serenity Solutions headphones available with Classical, Jazz, New Age, Lullabies and Memory Care music.  You can order them immediately for yourself here.  Or you can see if you hospital has already bought into our system.  Many have! You might also want to listen to a sample of each option here. Just scroll to the bottom of that page.

If you know how to make your own playlist, you can do that, put the music on a micro-SD card that you purchase, order our headphones,  and replace the SD card that comes with them.

Wishing you the best when you do have surgery, or dental work, or whatever medical procedure causes you anxiety.  It really works!



Surgery with music concept spreads around the world!

A day in Capri

Beautiful Capri and Anacapri, Italy

My dream has always been that surgery with music would be available to all surgical patients around the world. They would have access to soothing, serene music, through headphones, throughout their surgical procedures. Having surgery is a terrifying prospect for many people.  Sometimes it’s based on past experience, but sometimes it’s based entirely on stories that people hear from friends or relatives. The use of calming music during the perioperative period (before, during and after) is becoming more and more utilized as research studies and case histories document its power.

Adding new countries to our international education of physicians and patients

church in Zurich

This was our view from Swiss hotel window

We are now four steps closer to that dream as I have just visited four new countries! In Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Switzerland I spoke with both physicians and patients about the powerful benefits of calming, soothing, serene music throughout the surgical procedures.  I have yet to receive ANY pushback on this concept and the product that has resulted from the idea!

The first reaction of medical professionals is to want to know about the medical research that has been conducted.  Of course! And there have been many significant studies over the past 30 years, at least, with an increasing number of studies done since 2010.  Invariably the studies suggest that using calm, steady, slow music before, during and after surgery decreases the patient’s anxiety level and pain perception level.

Why does surgery with music make such an important impact in the surgery process?

Why is this so important? Because the anxiety and pain perception are decreased naturally, there is less need for powerful benzodiazepines, which bring their own negative side-effects, including addiction. As a psychotherapist (and clinical musicologist) I can tell you that if a patient can get that calm and peaceful feeling with a pill, they will reach for a pill rather than their headphones or an instrument.

When people don’t feel well, they are going to reach for the path of least resistance. It’s far too easy to take a pill, and please understand, I am not against benzodiazepines, or opioids, or other drugs used in surgery, when they are necessary.  But oftentimes, doctors give without a thought as to whether music therapy, or music medicine might suffice and do the job. MY job is to educate

site of original Olympics

Olympia, Greece, site of the original Olympics before birth of Christ

So, while I was on a wonderful European cruise, I made it my business to seek out physicians and patients who were willing to hear about my company, Surgical Serenity Solutions.  Many physicians and patients told me that they thought it was a great idea and would look into it.  Already I’ve gotten an invitation to speak to music therapy students at a university in Istanbul, Turkey and I’m looking forward to that next month.

Most people know intuitively that surgery with music relaxes and calms but they don’t know how to implement this

Because the concept of music as medicine is ancient, people accept it intuitively.  They don’t always know how to implement it though.  And that is the exact reason that I decided to create pre-loaded headphones for surgical patients to have waiting for them when they arrive at the hospital on the day of their surgery. It has been a success so far, but lots more people need to hear about it. Will YOU help me spread the message? You can forward this blog post link to anyone you know that is having surgery, or to your doctor, nurse or medical friends. Or just remember this option and tell people about it!

Does YOUR hospital utilize the Surgical Serenity Solutions headphones? More and more hospitals are requesting information and buying into our concept, but here is the link for hospitals to learn more and buy.

Read some of the compelling research studies on surgery with music below!

And in terms of all the research that has been conducted and published in leading medical journals? Best practices in the medical field are nearly always based on current research in that specific field. In an era that has been severely damaged by opioid abuse and drug addiction, medical professionals are more eager than ever  Here’s the link to some of the top studies.



Why music really makes a difference in the perioperative period

Physicians in Korea standing with Dr. Cash

Speaking to Drs about the power of rhythmic entrainment.

Scientists are trained to be skeptical.  And it’s a very good thing! When people’s lives are on the line, you want to be sure that everything you’re doing for the patient is maximizing their opportunities to survive and thrive. Using music during the perioperative period is one of those things that has proven to be very useful in decreasing anxiety and pain perception. And at the same time, to “DO NO HARM.”

One of the steps to becoming a physician is taking the ancient “Hippocratic Oath” and part of that oath requires that the physician promise to “primum non nocere” which means “first, do no harm.”  I believe that one of the major benefits of using music during the surgical period is that music can never harm a patient.  But far more than that, it can actually calm them prior to the beginning of the procedure, a time when Valium is often given routinely and without a thought of the fact that music could probably accomplish the very same thing but without the risk of side-effects.

What are common side-effects of Valium?

According to www.rxlist.com, common side-effects of Valium include:

  • drowsiness
  • tired feeling
  • dizziness
  • spinning sensation
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • ataxia (loss of balance)
  • memory problems

And what are common patient reactions to serene, calming music?

  • lowered anxiety
  • feelings of peace
  • slow and steady heartbeat
  • deep and regular breathing
  • ability to forget current circumstances (temporarily)

The goal is education about the power of music

Through the past several hundred years, individual doctors and nurses have thought about using music during surgery and other medical procedures.  I have read about doctors having live music in the operating room, but that’s not very practical and raises concerns about introducing all kinds of germs and bacteria into the operating room.

Live Oud Music during cardiac surgeryThere are paintings from hundreds of years ago showing musicians attending a patient having surgery. This painting depicts “live Oud music during cardiac surgery.” and accompanies a medical study with the same name.

One of the basic premises in using music as medicine, whether for surgery or other medical procedures, is that the music must be pleasing, even if not familiar to the patient.

Every part of the world has its own music, its own music history, and its own musical instruments that have developed over thousands of years.

Offering the surgical patient a choice of music prior to surgery is very important and creates a sense of some choice and control for the patient.  Most people go into surgery feeling very powerless and even out of control.  Offering soothing music is a simple way to empower the patient and give them a sense of partnership.

Research on the use of music during the perioperative period

On my website you can find some of the most important recent studies on the use of music with different kinds of surgeries. Click here to see these studies and meta-analyses. 

There have been very reputable studies done on music with cataract surgery, cancer surgeries, joint replacement surgeries, dental surgery and any medical procedures you can imagine.  It’s really very exciting.

Surgical Serenity Solutions headphonesBut until 2009, there was not a single product on the market that could deliver the ideal music to the patient, during surgery, through cordless, pre-loaded headphones.  In 2008, Surgical Serenity Solutions was awarded a U.S. Patent on the concept of having pre-loaded headphones for surgery patients for the specific purpose of reducing anxiety, pain perception and possibly the amount of medication required. In 2009 Surgical Serenity Solutions.started selling the headphones to patients.

Over the past 4-5 years we have shifted our focus from providing our headphones primarily to patients and instead, are now introducing them in larger quantities, to hospitals.  Our dream is that most hospital systems will have the headphones waiting for the patients on the morning they arrive for surgery, or colonoscopies/endoscopies.  Even labor and delivery suites, and ICUs are utilizing the many benefits of soothing music through headphones for patient who is anxious and fearful about their outcomes.

If YOUR hospital is interested in getting pre-loaded headphones in the OR, the ICU, the ER, or Labor and Delivery, click here to get prices and information on how they work. Each order of 12 or 20 headphones comes with 50 pair of disposable ear-piece covers and you can purchase more, as needed!

Give your patients the patient experience they deserve and create a safer experience as well!


Music, Surgery, and Cancun


Cancun, a magical placeI am back in Cancun and I have to say that for me, this is truly a magical place! Why? Well it is definitely beautiful with dozens of varieties of flowering trees and plants, and all kinds of swaying palm trees that just instantly put me in a state of calm and serenity.

But even more magical for me is the fact that this is where I first had the inspiration to preload headphones for the surgical patient with beautiful, soothing, serene and therapeutic music.

Here’s a little history on the birth of Surgical Serenity Solutions concept

In January of 2005 I attended a wonderful event sponsored by the National Speakers Association called “Cancun University.”  The internet was just really beginning to be important in the speaking world and all of us were encouraged not only to have websites that showcased our businesses.  Our professor also recommended that we create digital and downloadable products, such as e-books, and CDs/DVDs that vividly depicted us speaking and delivering valuable information with flair and pizazz!

When I first began reading about this event, I KNEW I had to attend and learn about internet marketing. Since I was a piano performance major in college, I really did not know much about marketing of any kind and certainly not about product innovation, but those were the two tracks that I decided to ‘major’ in at Cancun University!

What the professor said to get our creative juices flowing

The “professor” in the product innovation classes was a successful inventor who held dozens of U.S. and foreign patents and definitely knew the ropes. His name was Donald Booty and he was a gem!  There were probably 50-60 speakers in that group and he encouraged us to think of something that would be a solution to a universal problem that affected us. He gave a great example of the man who had just invented the cardboard collars for hot coffee drinks at Starbucks and McDonalds, in the wake of the lawsuit in which a lady was badly burned by hot coffee in a drive-thru window.

Don said “that gentleman is probably and retired and on the beach somewhere by now!” That really appealed to me and I went back to my hotel room that night to start going through the work I had been doing with music and surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine for the previous 10-15 years.

Early precedents of the Surgical Serenity Headphones

I had actually been working on a way to deliver the ideal calming music to surgical patients for over a decade, but previously I was creating unique cassette tapes for individual patients in Louisville, KY and would spend hours with them discussing when they liked and what would work best for calming them. Needless to say, that was a wonderful but not terribly efficient process.

Then I had the idea to create a set of 8-10 CD’s that would cover a variety of genres, but all have the ability to calm the patient. My idea was to have one of the big hospitals in Louisville sponsor this project and then license the Music for Surgery CD’s to hospitals around the world.

But right before I was about to embark on this, I had the opportunity to go to Cancun University.

Following through on the first assignment

After our first day in class, when we had been tasked with finding a simple solution to a universal problem, I went back to my hotel room and “poof!” I thought “What about creating individual headphones that would already be programmed with the ideal, soothing music for patients about to go into surgery?”

The next day, the professor was very excited to hear this idea and said that the next task would be to do a “patent search” and see if anyone had already beat me to that idea.

I did this and was thrilled to find that no one had ever done this or even tried to do this. I was told that I would need to get a preliminary patent on the idea and of course, all of this would cost money.  Nevertheless, I set to work on this idea and by September of 2005 I had the preliminary patent.

Getting the final patent

Between September 2005 and October of 2008, I was working with engineers, a couple of different patent attorneys and lawyers, and doing lots of research myself into all of the studies that had been conducted on the use of music with different kinds of surgeries. I found that literally hundreds of studies had been done on the use on music with patients before, during, and after surgery, but no one had thought of using headphones for the patients. Most hospitals were simply using music through overhead speakers that both the doctor and patient were supposed to benefit from.

Dr Cash in Cancun

One of the first things I pointed out when I started marketing my headphones was the fact the doctors and patients needed almost the opposite kinds of music for the best result.  Surgeons seem to choose music that is upbeat and keeps their energy upbeat and consistent. Patients need music that is slower and calming and steady.  The genre actually doesn’t matter and music can be found in all genres that fits this description.

Where do I find this amazing product?  It’s actually quite a simple process!  Just go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/20-pre-loaded-headphones-for-hospitals/ and you can get a box of twenty headphones with 50 pair of disposable earpiece covers for a great price!

Hope your hospital will be ordering soon!


Anesthesia and the Elderly


Anesthesia management in the elderly can be a life and death matter. This patient was a customer of mine and had had a very negative experience in the past with anesthesia. She told me that “they almost couldn’t wake me up last time and I’ve just found that I must have hip replacement surgery and I am so scared to go under anesthesia again.”

How Surgical Serenity music works

When I explained the effectiveness of our Surgical Serenity Solutions music and how it works to stabilize the heart-beat and breathing with the slow and steady music, she immediately said that she would like to try this.

It’s interesting how fear will motivate you to try things that can save your life. And in the elderly, it’s very common for anesthesia to be a major complication to an otherwise safe surgery.  Of course, a skilled anesthesiologist will monitor carefully how the patient is doing during a surgical procedure but in the case of this patient, she had gone through her previous surgery safely but then had major and unexpected difficulty waking up from the procedure.

What the Doctor Said

The patient was told that she should definitely avoid any unnecessary surgery but her mobility was being so affected by her arthritic hip, she knew that she HAD to get the hip replaced.

Fast forward a few weeks later, her hip surgery was a total success, she wore the Surgical Serenity Solutions pre-loaded headphones and chose to listen to the classical playlist. She gave me a glowing review of her procedure, but I thought this video of her talking before the surgery might actually help people who would relate to what she is saying as she is waiting for the surgery to happen.

New uses for Surgical Serenity headphones

Surgical Serenity Solutions is getting in more and more hospitals every day and is now being used in the ICU, labor and delivery, and many other areas of the hospital. Please consider using these with your medical or dental procedure.  Order HERE!


Can music help the dreaded Root Canal experience?


pre-root canalYesterday, I had to have a dreaded root canal on Tooth #4.  I had already been to the general dentist each week for past two week for a new crown and two fillings.  At the last visit to the general dentist, she said that the sensitivity I was experiencing on tooth #4 needed to be evaluated by an endodontist so I went to see him Monday. After taking a 3-D x-ray, he said that I definitely needed a root canal and then would need a new crown. I was really scared!  I don’t like pain and I feel like my mouth is already kind of a War Zone!

I scheduled it for the very next day because I can’t stand to have that sort of thing hanging over me.

The Music That I’ve Chosen for Dental Work

With all of the dental work that I’ve had recently, of course I’m using my Surgical Serenity Solutions playlists, streamed to my AirPods.  For the crown prep two weeks ago, I used the Lullaby playlist; it was perfect with soothing, familiar lullabies coming into my ears and bringing beautiful memories of when my children were little and so, so sweet.

The second procedure, to seat the crown and take care of two fillings, I listened to the Jazz playlist and that was great too.  That particular style of music takes me to my young adult years and I remember college scenes and experiences.

But when I found out on Monday that I needed a root canal, I was truly terrified. The Endodontist doesn’t offer nitrous oxide, which the general dentist does. I just wasn’t sure that I could manage the pain just with Novocain and my music. I believe that this music can calm me and keep me calm, but the jabs of the Novocain needle can’t be denied, despite the fact that they say “here comes a little pinch!”

Dr Cash and Dr Scott NortonAs it turned out, the tooth really was difficult because of calcified channels and a large cavity that was “hiding behind the crown.” Nevertheless, I put my AirPods in and this time I decided to listen to the Music for Memory Care playlist that I recorded several years ago and consisted of music that I played for patients in several different Memory Care units in our area.

It was a good choice because it literally took me back to the days when I was playing this music for patients who couldn’t remember where they were, what year it was, or even their name, but THIS particular set of well-known songs from the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s struck a spark in them and they lit up with big smiles and often would sing along for a few bars!

You can hear samples of all five playlists at www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm.

In Conclusion

Dental work is never any fun but you have to do it.  Tooth infections can spread throughout the body and make the body septic, so you must take really good care of your teeth and gums. I try to go at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups but nothing lasts forever.

My strong suggestion to you is that next time you go to the dentist, download one of our surgical playlists at www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm and take your bluetooth AirPods or bluetooth headphones and stream your favorite playlist. It really worked beautifully for me!


Will your hospital have music headphones for you?

patient waits for surgery with headphones on

Young male patient listening to music pre-surgery

Having surgery is always stressful, but everyone knows now that music can make a big difference.  Will your hospital have music headphones for you? This is a questions that I get asked frequently and so I have a few suggestions as you prepare for your surgery.

Let me start by saying that in 2022, more hospitals than ever have adopted our Surgical Serenity Solutions headphones.  Still, there is a good chance that your hospital will not have music headphones for you. The good news is that research continues to be conducted and published that show the overwhelming positive benefits of patients have music before, during and after their surgical procedures or hospital-based diagnostic tests.  This also applies to the procedures conducted in Ambulatory Surgical Centers. And if your hospital does not have music headphones for you, you can buy them directly from us and have them shipped in a matter of days.

Dr and patient talk

Dr Leatherman was one of the first physicians in Louisville to use music in the operating room.

The first step is to talk with your surgeon or anesthesiologist about your desire to use music with your procedure

Today, the vast majority of surgeons and anesthesiologists have seen the research on the benefits of music with surgery and are in favor of the patient having music. But they have not had the opportunity to learn about the one company (so far) that has created headphones that are pre-loaded with soothing, steady, serene, and therapeutic music. Our music has been curated and sequenced by a clinical musicologist, and our process has received a U.S. patent and many accolades.

But doctors are busy and they don’t realize that a ready-to-go product exists. For this reason, I have written a brief white paper for the patient called “How to Talk with your Doctor about using music with surgery.”  To download this report, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/Talk2Dr. The report provides your doctor with research and dialogue between the patient and doctor in language that the doctor needs to hear in order to be positively persuaded.

The second step is to order your own pre-loaded headphones if the hospital doesn’t have them

When I first started this business, pre-loaded headphones for surgery didn’t exist.  By chance, one of our first customers was a physician in our city of Louisville, KY who was having a hip replacement and ordered them . To my great delight, she wrote me a personal letter afterwards saying what a positive experience it had been and assuring me that she would spread the word to her colleagues and patients. This was a great start for our business.

The third step is to read some of the research yourself so that you can speak with confidence on the subject

Dozens of powerful, persuasive research studies have been conducted on the use of music before, during and after surgery.  One of the most impressive and conclusive was a meta-analysis that was published in the British journal The Lancet.  Read this study here.

Hospitals have a vested interest in keeping patient satisfaction high

Have you noticed that when you go to the hospital for any reason, or even the doctors office nowadays, you’ll get a survey? Yes, medical professionals truly care that you have a positive experience at their hospital, surgery center, or private practice, but their reimbursement is also tied to positive patient ratings. Patients who have music headphones provided to them in the hospital tend to give higher patient satisfaction ratings. They know  that their hospital is going above and beyond the call of duty to give them the best experience possible. And if they’ve had surgery in the past, they can definitely feel the difference between having a “sonic cocoon” created for them of beautiful, relaxing music and have a anxiety-filled pre-surgery period where nurses and techs are talking with patients all around you and you are separated from other patients only by a curtain.

Many patients have reported that just hearing other patients conversing with staff and their own family members made then more frightened than they were when they arrived at the hospital.  Having these pre-loaded headphones blocks all of that out and puts the patient in their own “sonic cocoon.”  This is true both before, during and after the procedure.  The recovery area is also filled with patients just waking up from surgery and separated only by a curtain.

Think about and talk with your surgeon about your desire to use music during your procedure and how they hospital or YOU can make this happen!  Best wishes for a successful procedure!  And do let me know if you have any questions.


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