Effects of Listening to Live Singing in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study

Biol Res Nurs. 2019 Jan;21(1):30-38. doi: 10.1177/1099800418802638. Epub 2018 Sep 24.


Background: Participation in music therapy is associated with improved psychological and physical indices among chronically ill patients. Listening to music during hemodialysis treatments positively affects patients' hemodynamics, laboratory values, quality of life, and physical symptoms. The effect of live singing during hemodialysis treatments, however, has not previously been studied.

Methods: A total of 24 participants with a diagnosis of end-stage kidney disease participated in the study. The vocalist was a musically trained dialysis nurse. Twelve of the patients listened to 15 min of live singing during 6 consecutive hemodialysis sessions, while the other 12 underwent standard hemodialysis. After a washout period of 2 days, the two groups were reversed.

Results: Listening to live music was associated with improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, better quality of sleep, fewer cramps, and reduced anxiety/depression, pain, and itching ( p < .05, all values).

Conclusions: Listening to live music during hemodialysis is an effective and potentially low-cost therapy for the dialysis care team to employ during hemodialysis treatments.

Keywords: end-stage kidney disease; hemodialysis; holistic nursing; music; music therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Dialysis / psychology*
  • Singing*