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Soothing sounds during cataract surgery reduces patient anxiety
Date:11/12/2012

CHICAGO November 12, 2012 New research shows that the use of an audio therapy known as binaural beats can significantly reduce patients' anxiety during cataract surgery. The 141-patient study, conducted in Thailand, is the first of its kind in cataract surgery, which is one of the most frequently performed procedures worldwide, with more than 3 million performed annually in the United States. The research is being presented today at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, jointly conducted this year with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

Binaural beat audio therapy consists of two tones that are each pitched at a specific, slightly different frequency, with each tone delivered to a separate ear via headphones. The technique evokes alpha-frequency brainwaves, a state that is linked to relaxation and reduced perception of fear and pain. In this study, the researchers combined binaural beats with soothing music and nature soundscapes that included ocean and forest sounds, to provide a pleasant, familiar experience for patients. (Listen to a sample clip here; use headphones to experience the binaural beat effect.)

The study was conducted using three groups, each consisting of 47 patients, matched for age, gender, cataract type, and other health factors. Patients who listened to a binaural beats-music mix before, during and after the procedure had less anxiety and slower heart rate, compared with the control group patients who do not receive the therapy.

Systolic blood pressure was also significantly reduced in both the binaural beats-music mix patient group and a second patient group who listened to music only. Control group patients heard the usual sounds that occur in a surgical suite. All patients were assessed before and after surgery using the State-Trait Anxiety scale, a standard test used to diagnose anxiety. Their heart rate and blood pressure were also measured before and after sur
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Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
510-725-5677
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert  

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