Nov Nov 21, 2022

Choosing your best music for surgery

By |November 21, 2022|Choosing your best music for surgery|0 Comments

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!


Oct Oct 19, 2022

Surgery with music concept spreads around the world!

By |October 19, 2022|music medicine in Italy, Surgery with music around the world|0 Comments

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.


Sep Sep 2, 2022

Why music makes a difference in the perioperative period

By |September 2, 2022|Music and Anesthesia|0 Comments

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!

Sep Sep 1, 2022

Music, Surgery, and Cancun

By |September 1, 2022|and Cancun|0 Comments


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!

Aug Aug 22, 2022

Anesthesia and the Elderly

By |August 22, 2022|Anesthesia and the Elderly|0 Comments


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!

Aug Aug 18, 2022

Can music help the dreaded Root Canal experience?

By |August 18, 2022|Root Canal|0 Comments


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!

Jun Jun 20, 2022

Will your hospital have music headphones for you?

By |June 20, 2022|Surgery with Music|0 Comments

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.


Jun Jun 4, 2022

Music and Cataract Surgery

By |June 4, 2022|Cataract Surgery with Music|0 Comments

after the cataract surgery

Cataract Surgery with Serenity Headphones throughout

A new study came out today about the effectiveness of using music during cataract surgery. There have actually been quite a few studies over the last 10-20 years about music with cataract surgery because it is one of the top-10 performed surgeries around the world every day.  In order to understand cataract surgery better, take a look at what Healthgrades.com reports:

Every year about three million people in the United States have surgery to remove cataracts. Cataracts are common among  older people. Half of all Americans develop one by the time they’re 80 years old. A cataract causes the eye lens to become        cloudy. This causes vision problems, and surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. During the operation, the surgeon removes the lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial one. This lets the person see more clearly. People who have cataract surgery can usually go home shortly after the procedure, without an overnight stay in the hospital. Cataract surgery costs $2,300 to $3,000. 

With the growing population of aging Baby Boomers, cataract surgery is being done all of over the world every day. As always, anxiety runs high with any surgery and having a completely natural tool like music is such an advantage to a cataract patient.

The Surgical Serenity Solution has been used with thousands of cataract procedures, (including the patient in the picture above.) Our playlists have proven to be completely effective at decreasing anxiety and pain perception. However we know that there are many kinds of calming, soothing music around the world.  This particular study was done in China and was reported in a reputable medical journal there.

The title of the study is:

Effect of slow tempo music on markers of anxiety during cataract surgery: Randomized control trial

This study was done in China at a large hospital. To read the abstract click here.  The purpose of the study was to objectively examine the effects of slow, steady music on patients having cataract surgery, and specifically on their anxiety level.

  1. Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) levels were measured at the beginning and at the end of surgery.
  2. They also took the blood pressure of the patients 5 minutes before surgery and at the end of surgery, as well as at 4 or 5 other points during the procedure.

The music that they used was translated as “standard solo piano music.” Our original classical playlist uses classical pieces of 3-4 minutes apiece from major Western classical composers. Their conclusions were that the indications of lower anxiety, as measured by the sAA levels and blood pressure, indicate that listening to slow and steady piano music in the perioperative period makes a positive difference.

What is the best music for surgery, before, during and after?

The best music to use for the patient during the surgical procedure is purely instrumental music that has the tempo of the healthy, resting hearbeat. This music should be administered through cordless, noise-cancelling headphones.  Soothing and therapeutic music is also a very cost-effective intervention.  This music doesn’t cost the hospital much money and has absolutely no side effects.

We have already created these headphones for your! They are being used in hospitals around the world and new hospitals buy into our system every month.  If your hospital doesn’t have them, you can order them for yourself at www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/patient-products.  To get these headphones into your hospital, surgery center or dental clinical, go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/20-pre-loaded-headphones-for-hospitals/.

To read more research studies on the benefits of music with many different types of surgery, go to https://www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/medical-research/

Surgery is a serious procedure and experience but can greatly improve the quality of life with traumatizing the patient or their loved ones.

May May 18, 2022

Do you like going to the dentist?

By |May 18, 2022|Dentistry and music|0 Comments


dental patient wearing headphonesI ask you, tongue in cheek, do you like going to the dentist? Because of course no one likes going to the dentist.  Having a person that you don’t know very well, leaning over you, while you are laid back in a helpless position and with a drill or other noisy tools coming at you. Of course it’s awful!!

Recently I was told that after all of the fillings I’ve had, all of the crowns, Invisalign braces and a triple root canal in one tooth, now I need a tooth extraction!  I was truly horrified because I never had a moment of pain.  I didn’t realize that you could have a serious dental infection and feel no pain whatsoever.

But I definitely knew that I would have pain during and after a back molar extraction.  And I really hate pain! That’s one of the main reasons that I created Surgical Serenity Solutions, because I, personally, hate pain and don’t want to take opioids or other potentially addictive medications.

Going to the dentist is just one of those necessary evils I guess, and if you don’t go, you risk even more pain than if you do go!

I did learn to use nitrous oxide judiciously because when they remove the nitrous oxide, the brain fog goes away immediately, but nitrous, plus carefully chosen music is a really good combination, I think!

What does the research say about music and dentistry?

surgical headphones in dental surgery

I think it’s interesting to note that dentistry was one of the very first sub-specialties in the medical-dental field to use music through headphones on a regular basis.  I vividly remember going to the dentist in the late 1950’s in South Carolina (USA) and being given a large pair of headphones with 5 different channels on it as well as a channel of “white noise.”  I thought it was pretty cool and it definitely distracted me from worrying about the pain that might result from drilling in my mouth.

Later I learned that dentists were being taught to use “audio analgesia”  during their procedures to supplement and augment the effects of novocaine which lasted for a very long time.

A recent study, “Effectiveness of music interventions on dental anxiety,”

reports that “music listening significantly lowered levels of anxiety and stress of females during dental                              procedures. Authors of the study concluded that there was a strong physiological (increased                          secretory immunoglobulins level) response to music by females.”

And their recommendation?

“It is recommended that pre-recorded music be offered through

                 headphones during the dental procedure to adult patients to reduce their dental anxiety.”

My Experience

So, the day finally arrived for my tooth extraction and I had chosen a specific piece of music that I wanted to listen to during the extraction and to listen in conjunction with nitrous oxide.  I was concerned that my own playlists might not be loud enough so I chose  piece for large concert band, called “Folksong Suite” by Ralph Vaughn-Williams.

I learned my lesson about listening to free sites! I was listening to my chosen music on YouTube and found that every 3-4 minutes the music stopped in order to have a commercial!! I was so frustrated because the music then did not automatically re-start. There was drilling and pulling, and drilling and pulling because it was a large molar and had been in place for a long time.

Luckily I was coherent enough to switch the music to my classical playlist and just turn the volume up enough to block most of the sounds.   The procedure was over sooner than I expected and I got through it with very little trauma.

Needless to say, music through headphones is highly recommended when going to the dentist.  Even for a simple cleaning I take mine because now they use very high-speed tools that emit a loud and high-pitched sound which is disconcerting to me.

Every dentist that I’ve talked to is more than happy to let patients bring in their own headphones and music.  And remember to download the playlists at www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm.

May May 14, 2022

Nursing and Music: a match made in Heaven

By |May 14, 2022|Nursing and Music|0 Comments


The use of music in nursing has a long and rich history. No less than Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale were advocates. Not everyone can be a nurse and not everyone can be a musician. And definitely, not everyone can be a music therapist. All of these are noble callings but  everyone’s gifts and opportunities vary.  Nursing and music are a match made in Heaven.

This week has been National Nurses Week and I’ve been interacting with some very forward-thinking nurses.  These nurses recognize the healing and restorative benefits of music.  One nurse in particular, is searching for a way to use music in the ICU with patients who are struggling to regain their health. Some are struggling to regain consciousness.

Nurses and caregivers have probably been using music since the beginning of time.  It’s natural to want to comfort a patient in any way possible, but as busy as nurses are all day long, the intervention must be simple and efficient.  Nurses are allowed to sing and hum when patients are OK with it, but not every nurses has that gift.

Clara Barton was one nurse who believed in the power of music although she did not sing or play an instrument herself

Clara Barton Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in the early 1880’s and was passionate about her mission to respond to anyone and everyone who might be in an emergency/crisis situation.  She worked tirelessly in New England trying to raise awareness of the dire needs of people and also trying to raise money to support her mission.  In the end she was quite successful and that’s why most of us have heard of the American Red Cross today.

This organization still responds to people all over the world who have undergone a natural disaster or other tragedy.

I’m proud to say that my grandmother, Julia Adelaide Fishel Adams worked for the American Red Cross and I grew up hearing about the life-saving work of this amazing organization.

Clara Barton was a believer in the power of music to change patient’s lives and bring them peace and comfort. She tended to soldiers  as they recovered from their battle wounds during the Civil War. Contemporaries called her “The Angel of the Battlefield.”

Florence Nightingale lived about 50 years earlier and was also a believer in the power of music

Florence NightingaleFlorence Nightingale, (1820-1910) was the nurse called the Lady with the Lamp. She was British and a famous nurse during the Crimean War. She was also a social reformer and considered to be the founder of modern nursing.  Florence Nightingale in particular is known internationally and many of her quotes are still remembered today. One of my favorites is :

“A human being does not cease to exist at death. It is change, not destruction, which takes place.”

In Notes on Nursing: What It Is And What It Is Not1, Florence Nightingale’s important book, she wrote:

The effect of music upon the sick has been scarcely at all noticed.  I will only remark here, that wind instruments, including the human voice, and stringed instruments, capable of continuous sound, have generally a beneficent effect–while the piano-forte, with such instruments as have no continuity of sound, has just the reverse. (the pianoforte was an historic instrument that followed the harpsichord and preceded the modern piano. It did not have a damper pedal and therefore was not able to sustain sound like the modern piano can do.)  The finest piano-forte playing will damage the sick, while an air, like “Home, sweet home,” or “Assisa a piè d’un salice,” on the most ordinary grinding organ, will sensibly soothe them–and this quite independent of association. (Florence Nightingale, 1898: Notes on Nursing)

I’m not sure I agree with this, but I find it very interesting to know that she believed this.

The first music that I found to be very effective in the ICU, as well as the perioperative period, happens to be soothing, calming piano music.  Music that has a steady tempo, the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat is best.

To hear samples of this music and all of our playlists, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm.  Each of these playlists is 50-60 minutes in length. There are five distinct genres to choose from: Classical, Jazz, New Age, Lullabies and Memory Care.

I am deeply grateful for the work of all nurses and excited to know that they are embracing the use of music in the ICU. Helping patients get through a very difficult time in their lives is so important.





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