What do you think is the best method for delivering music during surgery? Many methods have been tried: speakers on the wall, boombox in the corner, headphones, ear buds and even live music in the OR. I actually used corded headphones connected to a Sony “Walkman” back in 1994 when I had back surgery and the surgeon and nursing staff felt I had an exceptionally fast recovery. I had the sense, even back then, that soothing music through headphones created a kind of “sonic cocoon” that was quite beneficial to the patient, not only delivering music directly to the brain, through the 8th cranial nerve, but also blocking out the sounds of surgery and the conversations that patients don’t need to hear.
For me, ear buds are definitely not a good option because they fall out so easily and don’t have the sound-blocking capabilities that headphones have. Speakers in the wall or nearby are even worse because the patient can still hear conversations and the music playing is likely the music that the surgeon has chosen because of its upbeat, energetic nature.
Live music? It seems like a great idea, but I question the practicality of that in surgery. Operating rooms are not very big and to have a musician in the midst of serious surgery brings up all kinds of questions. If all of those questions could be addressed successfully, I still don’t think that every patient who could benefit from music during their procedure would be able to have it easily.
Obviously, we believe that the pre-programmed, cordless headphones are by far the best choice. This music has been scientifically chosen for the slow, soothing, steady pulse that engages rhythmic entrainment and allows the patient to relax naturally and thus require less medication. Once the relaxation response is in place, the music coming through the headphones before, during and after the surgery, does the same job that anxiety medications, pain medications and anesthesia would do. Make sense? I’m happy to answer any and all questions you might have. Just contact me through this blog!