A recent study has proven that the use of binaural beats during surgery correlates with less anxiety and reduced systolic blood pressure.
The research was carried out on senior patients undergoing cataract surgery.
141 participants were randomly allocated into three groups; binaural beats, musical intervention and control. One group listened to binaural beats combined with music and nature sounds, the second group listened only to the music with the natural noises, and the third group didn’t listen to anything at all.
Patient anxiety was measured by the STAI (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), which is a standard and widely used test in the field.
The STAI showed that compared with the control group, there was a significant decrease in anxiety level and in systolic blood pressure in the binaural beats group. There was also reduction in the same symptoms for the musical intervention group.
The study was headed up by Pornpattana Vichitvejpaisal, M.D., of Chiang Mai University in Thailand, who stated,
Our study shows significant emotional and physiological benefits from adding binaural beats to music therapy for cataract surgery patients. This provides a simple, inexpensive way to improve patients' health outcomes and satisfaction with their care.
More than three million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and the procedure is one of the most common worldwide.
Cataract surgery is typically carried out using local anesthesia with the patient conscious. Surgery is fairly invasive in that it involves replacing the eye's cloudy natural lens with an artificial lens implant, a procedure that causes anxiety and fear in many patients.
The research results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in November, 2012, and represent a breakthrough in patient care for the industry.
The calming, almost hypnotic effect binaural beats have on the brain has been well-documented in the past 30-40 years by individual users, but it is only in the last few years that the medical industry has allocated serious funding to carry out high level research on the potential benefits for patient care.
Anxiety is a primary cause of high blood pressure and decreases the body's pain threshold. In this respect binaural beats are of great benefit to any person suffering daily aches and pains, either through temporary or long term illness.
Binaural beats are a powerful, natural anxiety and stress reliever, and as the research has shown recordings are particularly beneficial for those facing minor surgery, such as cataract removal, mole removal or stitching of a wound.
To us here at BBM the most exciting aspect of this research is the use of a control group listening to only music, without the binaural beats.
Other prominent studies have used this control method as well, and it’s a great way to further validate the binaural beats effect as being separate from the neurological results of simply listening to relaxing music.
Dr. Vichitvejpaisal has plans to complete more research in this area:
We plan to conduct this research on more operative surgery that causes anxiety, or long time operative surgery, to evaluate more effects of the binaural beat. We look forward to evaluating this future research.