Many people who are active fans of listening to music can tell you that certain songs and tunes can trigger some type of emotional response – whether it be happiness, sadness, anger, or just a calm. As an example, couples who danced to their first song at a wedding usually associate it with happiness, love, and sometimes even tears due to the significance of the event, or in other cases, some songs might remind you of a hard breakup.
The senior advisor or policy and research at the American Therapy Association, Barbara Else, stated that we as humans have always had a deep connection to the music we hear because it becomes hardwired into both our brain and overall body. She finished that music can affect us psychologically in most cases.
Some universities, such as McGill University in Canada, have done studies to see the correlation between music and humans. In 2011 the university found that actively listening to music can increase the amount of dopamine produced in our brain, dopamine being the chemical that makes you feel happy and good, and that means it can help with people who are suffering from depression. Another study that was published linked listening to music and the improvement, not cure, for some mental health disorders.
In the time of all these medical studies and more music being released weekly, we have taken the time to view a few ways of how listening to music can positively affect people.
1. Reducing Pain and Anxiety
One study that was done involved making 7,000 randomized patients who received surgeries, no matter what kind, listen to music after their procedures. Many of the patients that started left feeling less anxious and pain than the patients who did not listen to music afterwards. The ones who listened to music were also noted to not need as many pain medications after the fact.
To further this study, researchers in Denmark studied is music had any effect with people suffering with chronic illnesses. In March 2014 they concluded that music could be beneficial to patients who have fibromyalgia – a chronic disorder that is known to cause intense pain in the muscles and joints, along with fatigue. Listening to calming and relaxing music that the patients were able to choose, have shown a decrease in the effects of the disorder amongst 22 patients.
The real question if why and how does music ease pain. Despite being studied constantly, the truth behind it remains unclear. Though many researchers believe that due to music releasing dopamine and natural opioids in a person’s brain, it can serve as a natural biological pain reliever.
2. Stress Reliever
Many people, such as yourself, may have noticed that when you are feeling stressed out, listening to music may help you relieve it in one way or another. Though, this isn’t a random occurrence as there are many studies that prove the correlation between music and stress relief.
One study that was posted by MNT showed that infants were able to remain calmer for longer periods of time when a soft melody was played in the background- even longer than speaking to the baby using baby talk. Another study done by the University of Canada concluded that the rhythm of the beats in the music can cause people to distress due to having something steady to focus on.
Music has also been shown to affect the heart rate as well. Many researchers follow the rule of thumb that has been based from an array of studies that the slower and more relaxing the bet it, the more likely the patient’s heart will falter and come to a relaxed rate.
3. Memory and Music
Certain songs have shown that they can remind us of certain time periods in our lives along with significant events. Once researchers found this out, they have concluded an array of studies – many with older patients – to test the accuracy of this claim.
In 2013, a study that was published gathered 60 adults who were learning a language, Hungarian. In the study, the adults were randomized to do one of three tasks: to speak unfamiliar Hungarian terms and phrases, speak the same phrases in a rhythm, or sing the phrases. When asked to recall the phrases, people who sang them in a melodic tune had a much higher recollection of the words compared to the other two groups.
Due to the evidence gathered from studies such as this, it shows a hope in the improvement of memory for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Though, patients with dementia were studied to have a higher memory recollection over the course of a ten-week period where they could listen to certain music and tunes that they may have heard in their past. Results from this study have shown that people who have illnesses to lose memory can have a chance to recall these memories, along with improving their mod, simply by listening to music.