Music may decrease delirium, a form of acute brain failure with no effective treatment that especially affects patients on ventilators in the intensive care unit (ICU), according to a study that may lead to new ways of supporting those with the condition.
The study, published in the journal American Journal of Critical Care, noted that critically ill individuals who listened to slow-tempo, relaxing music with 60 to 80 beats per minute had decreased need for sedatives, fewer days of delirium, and were more awake.
According to the researchers music can enable these patients to receive physical therapy earlier.
According to the researchers, music may hold promise to help save patients’ brains, and allow them to experience less stress while critically ill.
They said ICU nurses could easily place noise-cancelling headphones and audio players with patients.
In the study, the researchers divided ICU patients on mechanical ventilators into three groups — those who listened to slow tempo playlists consisting of piano, guitar, Native American flute sounds and classical music, patients whose preferred music was played, and those who listened to an audio book.
Patients who listened to audiobooks were further randomised to hear a reading of “Treasure Island,” the Harry Potter series, or Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”, the scientists noted in a statement.
All three audiobooks, they said, were chosen for readability, broad appeal, quality of narration and high ratings on commercial websites.
According to the study, 80 per cent of the patients rated the music enjoyable, duration appropriate, and indicated that they liked being part of the sessions twice a day.