Effects of music on physiological and behavioral responses of premature infants: a randomized controlled trial.Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013 Aug; 19(3):128-32.CT
Despite persuasive theories about the beneficial effects of music and singing in developmental care for premature infants, few small studies are available in this regard. We conducted this study to investigate the physiological and behavioral responses of premature infants to recorded lullaby music and silence.
In a randomized controlled trial, 90 premature infants in the neonatal care unit of a hospital in Qom (Iran) were randomly allocated to intervention (lullaby and silence) or control groups. Lullaby music was played via headphones at a volume of 50-60 dB. In the silence group, headphones were placed on the infants' ears while no music was played. The three groups were surveyed for physiological responses including oxygen saturation, respiratory and heart rates, and behavioral states every five minutes before, during, and after the intervention.
The three groups were not significantly different in terms of mean values of respiratory and heart rates, oxygen saturation, and behavioral states of infants. Similarly, no significant within group differences in respiratory and heart rates, oxygen saturation, and behavioral states were observed at different times.
Our findings did not support the beneficial effects of music for premature infants. However, music is a noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical, and relatively low-cost intervention that can be implemented at infants' bedside. Thus further research is warranted to determine whether the effects noted in previous studies can be consistently replicated in diverse settings and with diverse groups of preterm infants.