-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Playing soothing sounds
during cataract surgery reduces patients' anxiety, according to a
Researchers assessed the effects of binaural beat audio therapy,
which consists of two tones that are each pitched at a specific,
slightly different frequency. Each tone is delivered to a separate
ear via headphones.
This technique triggers alpha-frequency brainwaves, which are
linked to relaxation and reduced perception of fear and pain, the
For the study, the researchers divided about 140 cataract
surgery patients into three groups. One group listened to binaural
beats mixed with soothing music and nature sounds, another group
listened to music only, and a control group did not receive any
Patients who listened to the binaural beats/music mix before,
during and after cataract surgery had less anxiety and a slower
heart rate than those in the control group. Patients in the
binaural beats/music mix group and the music-only group had much
lower blood pressure than those in the control group.
The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual
meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago.
"As populations in many parts of the world grow older, it's increasingly important for ophthalmologists to explore new ways to improve patient care for seniors," study leader Dr. Pornpattana Vichitvejpaisal, of Chiang Mai University in Thailand, said in an academy news release.
"Our study shows significant emotional and physiological benefits from adding binaural beats to music therapy for cataract surgery patients," Vichitvejpaisal said. "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. The surgery is typically done using local
anesthesia with the patient awake. The procedure involves replacing
the eye's cloudy natural lens with an artificial lens implant.
Previous research has found that binaural therapy helps reduce
anxiety in patients undergoing general surgery.
Data and conclusions presented at medical meetings are typically
considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about
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