Prostate biopsy pain, anxiety eased by headphone music

January 25, 2012

Noise-canceling headphones playing a classical melody may reduce pain and anxiety in men undergoing a prostate biopsy, say researchers from Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC.

Noise-canceling headphones playing a classical melody may reduce pain and anxiety in men undergoing a prostate biopsy, say researchers from Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC.

"It’s a matter of shifting attention, so the music provides a distraction from the procedure," said lead author Matvey Tsivian, MD.

For the study, which was published in Urology (2012; 79:32-6), the authors enrolled 88 patients and randomly assigned them to three groups. The first had no headphones; the second wore the noise-canceling headphones but heard no music; and the third wore the headphones and listened to Bach concertos.

Blood pressure was taken before and after a transrectal biopsy.

Among study participants in both groups with no musical intervention, diastolic blood pressure remained elevated after the procedure, compared with before. But the men who wore the headphones and listened to Bach had no such spike in blood pressure.

Study participants who had the music also reported less pain, as measured by questionnaires. The researchers said they did not determine whether the choice of music might have had an impact.

"We couldn’t study all the permutations and variables, but it’s evident that this kind of approach works," said senior author Thomas Polascik, MD. "This is something that could be broadly employed. It’s easy and inexpensive-a set of headphones and music. That’s it."

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