Purpose: To provide an overview of developmental and medical benefits of music therapy for preterm infants.
Sample: Empirical music studies with preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Main outcome: Evidence-based NICU music therapy (NICU -MT ) was highly beneficial with an overall large significant effect size (Cohen's d = 0.82). Effects because of music were consistently in a positive direction.
Results: Results of the current analysis replicated findings of a prior meta-analysis and included extended use of music.(1) Benefits were greatest for live music therapy (MT ) and for use early in the infant's NICU stay (birth weight <1,000 g, birth postmenstrual age <28 weeks). Results justify strong consideration for the inclusion of the following evidence-based NICU -MT protocols in best practice standards for NICU treatment of preterm infants: music listening for pacification, music reinforcement of sucking, and music pacification as the basis for multilayered, multimodal stimulation.