Patients' perception of music versus ordinary sound in a postanaesthesia care unit: a randomised crossover trial

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2009 Aug;25(4):208-13. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 May 14.


We performed an experimental single-blind crossover design study in a postanaesthesia care unit (PACU): (i) to test the hypothesis that patients will experience a higher degree of wellbeing if they listen to music compared to ordinary PACU sounds during their early postoperative care, (ii) to determine if there is a difference over time, and (iii) to evaluate the importance of the acoustic environment and whether patients prefer listening to music during their stay. Two groups received a three-phase intervention: one group (n=23) experienced music-ordinary sound-music and the second group (n=21) experienced ordinary sound-music-ordinary sound. Each period lasted 30 min, and after each period the patients assessed their experience of the sound. The results demonstrated a significant difference (p<0.001) between groups in the proportions of patients reporting that the acoustic environment was of great importance for their wellbeing during the three-phase intervention, and most participants (n=36 versus n=8) noticed that they were exposed to different sounds during the PACU period. The results also revealed that most participants (n=32) preferred listening to music versus listening to ordinary sound (n=3) while in the PACU (p<0.001). These findings promote use of listening to music to establish a healing environment for patients in a postanaesthesia care unit.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Choice Behavior
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Health Facility Environment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / organization & administration*
  • Postanesthesia Nursing
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Care / nursing
  • Postoperative Care / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery Room / organization & administration*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome