Effect of favorite music on postoperative anxiety and pain

Anaesthesist. 2020 Mar;69(3):198-204. doi: 10.1007/s00101-020-00731-8. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


Background: Music is one of the most commonly used non-pharmacological interventions to reduce anxiety. It helps patients overcome emotional and physical alienation, provides comfort and familiarity in an improved environment and offers a pleasant distraction from pain and anxiety. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of listening to preoperative favorite music on postoperative anxiety and pain.

Material and methods: This prospective, randomized, single-blinded, controlled trial included the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I-III patients, aged 18-70 years, undergoing elective inguinal hernia surgery. Demographic data and anxiety status were recorded. Anxiety status was measured using the Spielberger state-trait anxiety inventory form 1 (STAI-1) and state-trait anxiety inventory form 2 (STAI-2). After recording baseline heart rate, blood pressure and STAI levels, patients were randomly allocated to the music group (Group M) or control group (Group C). Patients in Group M listened to their favorite music using headphones and patients in the control group received standard care. The STAI‑1 was repeated after surgery and the numeric rating scale (NRS) and patient satisfaction were measured.

Results: A total of 117 patients were included. Demographic data, educational status, and previous surgical history were similar between the groups. Mean preoperative STAI‑1 and STAI‑2 scores were similar between the groups (p > 0.05). Mean postoperative STAI‑1 score was significantly lower in Group M than in Group C (39 [range 35-43] vs. 41 [range 37-43], p < 0.05). Moreover, the change in the STAI score was significantly higher in Group M compared with Group C (p < 0.05). The difference of hemodynamic measurements pre-music to post-music was significant between Group M and Group C (p = 0.001). The NRS scores remained similar between the groups. Patient satisfaction score was significantly higher in Group M (p = 0.017).

Conclusion: Listening to patient-preferred favorite music preoperatively reduced anxiety, regulated hemodynamic parameters, and improved postoperative patient satisfaction. Reduced anxiety was not associated with reduced pain.

Keywords: Anxiety; Music; Patient satisfaction; Postoperative pain; STAI.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music / psychology*
  • Pain
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Young Adult