Health and Fitness

Music combined with auditory beat stimulation can reduce anxiety, says study

By Shgun S -- March 14, 2022 1:43 pm -- Updated:March 14, 2022 1:43 pm

Mental Health tips and treatment: Treatments that combine music and auditory beat stimulation are effective in reducing anxiety in some patients, suggests a recent study published in the open-access journal 'PLOS ONE'.

Anxiety has been continuously rising in recent decades, particularly among adolescent and young adult populations. Previous research has shown that listening to music can help people feel less anxious, possibly even more successfully than some anti-anxiety drugs. However, there is a scarcity of quantitative data on the impact of personalised music on anxiety.

The study by Adiel Mallik and Frank Russo of the Ryerson University, Canada deployed 163 patients taking anti-anxiety medications to participate in an at-home treatment session involving music, auditory beat stimulation, both, or pink noise--background sounds similar to white noise.

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LUCID's artificial intelligence, which curates music based on the patient's emotional state and music preferences, was used to select music for each patient. Auditory beat stimulation entails playing a series of tones in one or both ears in order to cause changes in brain activity. Patients in all groups were instructed to download a treatment-specific application to their smartphone, close their eyes, and listen to a 24-minute session.

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People who listened to both music and ABS (p=0.04, effect size=0.83) or music alone (p=0.05, effect size=0.52) had higher reductions in somatic anxiety—the physical symptoms of anxiety—than those who listened to pink noise before the treatment session.

Moderate trait anxiety participants who listened to both music and ABS experienced major reductions in cognitive state anxiety, which is anxiety associated with thoughts and feelings. The music-alone group showed considerably higher anxiety reductions than the ABS-alone group (p=0.04, effect size=0.72) among people with high trait anxiety before the session.

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The authors concluded that sound-based treatments can reduce state anxiety and may provide a simple and easily disseminable approach to treating anxiety in a group of the population.

"With the pandemic and remote work, there has been a remarkable uptick in the use of digital health tools to support mental health. The results of this clinical trial indicate great promise for the use of digital health tools, such as LUCID's digital music therapy, in the management of anxiety and other mental health conditions," said Drs. Russo and Malik.

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"The findings from this research are exciting as they indicate that personalized music shows great promise in effectively reducing anxiety in specific segments of the population that suffer from anxiety. Hopefully, with additional research, we can help build a solid evidence base which further supports the use of personalized music as an additional tool in the clinician's toolbox that can be used to help reduce anxiety in the patient population," they added.

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-PTC News

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