Music therapy is a rapidly gaining acceptance in clinical setting due to its emerging supportive evidence and harmless nature of the therapy. Understanding the effects of sounds (both musical sounds and “noise”) on neonatal development, physiology, and behaviour has made it possible to apply music for therapeutic purposes in neonates.
Music therapy has showed positive effects on heart rates, blood pressure, respiratory rates, oxygen saturation, stress-reduction, pain-control, hospital stay, etc. in neonates admitted in NICUs in different studies. In NICUs, masking of ambient noise is also an important effect. Music therapy positively influences neonatal feeding behaviour and weight gain. Recorded instrumental music and vocal music (including mother\'s voice) is used more commonly, however, live music therapy by qualified music therapists seems to be more promising due to obvious reasons. Mothers’ singing seems to be a convenient, acceptable and cost-effective option. Music therapy to mothers also benefits neonates. This article aims to discuss applications of music therapy in neonatology. Limitations, unanswered questions, and need for further research in Indian settings are also discussed.
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