Since 1914, music has been played in operating theatres. Originally, it was meant to sooth the patients, but it has since become a useful way to keep surgeons alert when performing lengthy procedures. While electronic music wouldn’t have been a common choice back in the day, thanks to the ever-changing music scene, it has become a remotely popular selection amongst modern medical professionals. Unfortunately, it might not be the safest.
Classical has always been one of the most common, but a recent study has shown that genres like rap, rock and electronic are beginning to find their ways into operating rooms. It goes on to say that when surgeons choose to play drum and bass and other forms of dance music, they tend to play it louder than other styles. This practice can be problematic, as lead author Dr. Terhi Korkiakangas from University College London’s Institute of Education and his team found that:
Music could cause distraction thus may be hazardous in the operating theatre settings. It can restrict communication with other staff members and could be a nuisance in an emergency scenario. It could interfere with hearing patient’s breathing and important alarms.
The report also suggests that the decision to play music should be made by the medical team as a whole and not just the lead surgeon. If the nurses and other workers in the room do not find the selection beneficial, it could hinder the process. Co-lead author Sharon-Marie Weldon states that:
Music can be helpful to staff working in operating theatres where there is often a lot of background noise, as well as other distractions – it can improve concentration. That said, we’d like to see a more considered approach, with much more discussion or negotiation over whether music is played, the type of music, and volume, within the operating teams.
You can read the full study here.