A recent Northwestern medical study has shown that children who listened to 30 minutes of pop songs by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and other musicians had a major reduction in pain after undergoing major surgery.

The study was performed on children ages 9 – 14.  They were provided with a playlist of top music in various genres including audio books.  This strategy could be important in post-surgical pain management as opiods analgesics can often cause breathing problems in children.  As a result, caregivers are limited to the amount of opiods prescribed to the pediatric patient and the pain is often not well controlled.

Dr. Santhanam Suresh, a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, states “Audio therapy is an exciting opportunity and should be considered by hospitals as an important strategy to minimize pain in children undergoing major surgery.  This is inexpensive and doesn’t have any side effects.”

Dr. Suresh conducted the study with his daughter who originated the idea while studying music and engineering during college.  This study is believed to be the first in its kind, evaluating audio therapy as a post-surgical pain management technique.  The Suresh’s state, “It didn’t matter whether their pain score was lower or higher when they were first exposed to the audio therapy,” Suresh said. “It worked for everyone and can also be used in patients who have had ambulatory surgery and are less likely to receive opiods at home.”

Roughly 60 pediatric patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital were assessed for their pain and offered audio therapy.  The children were then put into groups.  One group heard music of their choice; one listened to stories and another group sat with noise cancelling headphones on.  The pediatric patients in the story and music group had a greater decrease in pain. All the children reported their pain levels from a chart with images ranging from a painful grimace to a smiley face to describe how they felt.



abeo Management Corporation (abeo) serves as a leading source of revenue cycle management and practice management with a specialization in anesthesia. The company leverages its people, processes, and software to serve independent practices, surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems with a scope of services that include billing, coding, transcription, practice management, and business consulting.

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