Music therapy: new empirical data

soundwaves-light.jpgLast month I met a musician named Chuck Wild (formerly of Missing Persons). He currently makes ultrachill ambient music via his company Liquid Mind. He calls it "musical healthcare" designed to induce sleep, reduce anxiety, etc. We talked a bit about the New Age vibe that accompanies a lot of the genre, and I asked if there was any hard data to back up various health claims. Chuck mentioned that there's actually been a resurgence in empirical studies on the evidence-based positive effects of music therapy.

I did a little research, and it turns out this is indeed the case. The item that was most intriguing for me personally came out last month. German researchers Hidehiko Okamoto, Henning Stracke, Christo Pantev and Wolfgang Stoll reported that altering commercially available music improved the symptoms of tinnitus. That's good news for any of us who might have spent a little too much time wearing headphones or hanging out in loud clubs or sitting next to computers with loud fans. They found that test subjects who listened to music "notched" to dial out frequencies in the range of their tinnitus often had improvement after a year, compared to a control group. They believe tinnitus may be a refactoring of the auditory cortex due in part to lateral inhibition.

Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep (via Liquid Mind)

Study: Listening to tailor-made notched music reduces tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related auditory cortex activity