Surgical Playlists in the Operating Room: headphones or speakers?

Elderly patient wearing headphones after surgery

Woman relaxed wearing headphones before surgery

This is an exciting era in the field of Music Medicine and Music Therapy! Researchers are actively conducting studies and numerous clinical trials are underway in hospitals across the globe. While patients have always recognized the calming and healing effects of music, scientists now seek solid data to support this phenomenon.

The Age-Old Healing Power of Music

Throughout history, music has been a cherished and time-tested means to soothe both the mind and body. Its therapeutic potential is undeniable, but in today’s world, empirical evidence is crucial to substantiate music as a legitimate therapeutic modality. Anecdotal accounts, though valuable, fall short of meeting the rigorous demands of scientific scrutiny.

In order to make a well-researched decision about giving a patient personal, pre-loaded headphones, or music through speakers in the room,

You need to know:

  1. What kind of music patients need
  2. For how long they need this music
  3. How the music should be delivered, i.e. through headphones or speakers in the room

The questions that I deal with frequently are:

  1.  Why should I have my own music that I chose, through headphones when the surgeon has already chosen the music he thinks is best?
  2.  Why can’t I choose the music that I want to hear during my surgery?
  3.  Why is it so important to have preloaded headphones?

Having Surgery? book

In 2019 I wrote a book specifically to answer these questions.  You can find it on in paperback or Kindle format. I also answer many of these questions on my YouTube channel. (While you’re visiting my YouTube channel, please subscribe!)

Recently a study came out showing the many benefits of music with heart surgery. Anxiety reduction was the primarily goal and the study demonstrated a significant benefit to the patients.

Read the study here.

Much of the information online today shows a patient wearing headphones. Although the patient on the left is wearing headphones that have a cord, we provide headphones that are cordless and are pre-loaded with the soothing, therapeutic playlist of YOUR choice. We understand now that individual headphones for patients are important. The personal headphones with therapeutic music create a sonic cocoon that music through speakers in a large room cannot provide.

For surgery, especially, the patient needs to be protected from conversations that slip into the subconscious and create unnecessary anxiety. So many patients report that, even under anesthesia, they hear the medical team talk about potentially negative outcomes of the surgery, or worse yet, conversations that were not related to the patient or  surgery at all!

If you’re ready to order our headphones for YOUR hospital, go to




Surgery with Music Blog Series, Day 5: Preparing to have surgery with music


Tomorrow I am having surgery.  Am I anxious and afraid of experiencing pain?  The answer is absolutely “YES!”  Who can bravely walk into a surgery facility without their heart racing and their mind going through a list of “what-ifs?”  Not me.  Of course I trust my doctor to know exactly what she’s doing.  Of course I want my vision to be lots better because it has seriously deteriorated recently.

So how am I preparing for my cataract surgery?  I am literally doing everything possible to make sure that my experience tomorrow goes as smoothly as possible and that my 24 hours of complete rest and inactivity is as pleasant as possible.  I’ve been cleaning the house like crazy so that when I’m lying on the couch my view will be calm and pleasant.  I’ve bought some of my favorite simple to digest foods, like eggs and simple soups, yogurt and good bread.  Of course I have lots of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

But the biggest thing will be the music that I take with me.  Of course I have lots of choices.  I have both models of our Surgical Serenity Solutions headphones with our classical playlist pre-loaded onto the headphones.  They will play continuously  for 8-10 hours and I will put them on as soon as I check in at the surgery center tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.  I will be working on this blog post throughout the day to document to you and for myself, how my feelings go through this day.

It’s now almost 3:30 PM EST and I’m going to have to finish this post up.  I still have 3 Therapy sessions to conduct today with other people and I want to get to bed by 10 PM in order to be at the Surgery Center tomorrow by 7:15 AM.  I will make an actual video of myself now, explaining the two pre-loaded models of headphones available as will as showing how the mobile app works with Bluetooth headphones.  If possible, I will do a live video from the pre-op area tomorrow but probably not the cataract procedure room and almost certainly not from the recovery area. Please say a prayer for me tonight for calm and serenity both tonight and healing for tomorrow.  The Dr will be inserting a tri-focal lens into each eye after removing the cataract.

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