Music was found to reduce children's perceived sense of pain, say University of Alberta researchers.
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry researcher Lisa Hartling led the research team that involved her colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics, as well as fellow researchers from the University of Manitoba and the United States.
The team conducted a clinical research trial of 42 children between the ages of 3 and 11 who came to the pediatric emergency department at the Stollery Children's Hospital and needed IVs.
Some of the children listened to music while getting an IV, while others did not.
Researchers measured the children's distress, perceived pain levels and heart rates, as well as satisfaction levels of parents, and satisfaction levels of health-care providers who administered the IVs. The trial took place between January 2009 and March 2010.
"We did find a difference in the children's reported pain - the children in the music group had less pain immediately after the procedure," Hartling said.
"The finding is clinically important and it's a simple intervention that can make a big difference. Playing music for kids during painful medical procedures would be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in clinical settings," she added.
The research showed that the children who listened to music reported significantly less pain, some demonstrated significantly less distress, and the children's parents were more satisfied with care.
The findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics.