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6 Things You Need To Know About Music and Health

A growing body of research suggests that listening to or performing music affects the brain in ways that may help promote health and manage disease symptoms. Music activates a variety of structures in the brain that are involved in thinking, sensation, movement, and emotion. These brain effects may have physical and psychological benefits. 

Here are 6 things you need to know about music and health:

  1. Preliminary research suggests that music-based interventions may be helpful for anxiety, depressive symptoms, and pain associated with a variety of health conditions. 

  2. Music-based interventions may reduce depressive symptoms and improve emotional well-being and quality of life in people with cognitive impairment or various types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s unclear whether music can improve cognitive function.

  3. Several types of music-based interventions may be helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease. For example, an intervention that involves synchronizing movement to a rhythmic sound may help people with Parkinson’s disease walk better, and singing may help them improve their speech.

  4. Several studies suggest that various types of music-based interventions may be beneficial for coordination, balance, some aspects of gait and walking, emotional status, and pain in people with multiple sclerosis.

  5. Although music has shown promise for many health-related uses, not all findings on music-based interventions are positive. For example, studies of music-based interventions for sleep problems and for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder have had mixed results. 

  6. People may think of music as safe, but that isn’t always true. For example, listening to music at too high a volume can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss.