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Background Music Used to Reduce Anxiety in Infants during an Ear Examination

Objective: To evaluate the impact of music on the level of anxiety in infants between 0-3 years during an ear examination.
Study design: A randomized controlled trial between May 2012 and June 2013 at the Emek Medical Center, Afula, Israel. The study included 97 infants aged 0 to 3 years who were referred to the ear nose and throat (ENT) clinic.
Infants in the interventional group listened to music during a standard ear examination, while infants in the non-interventional group did not. Following the examination, the investigator filled out a FLACC (Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability) scale questionnaire aimed at assessing the anxiety level of the infant during the examination.
Results: The anxiety levels in the interventional group were statistically significantly lower than those in the non-interventional group. According to the FLACC values a statistically significant correlation was found between listening to music during the ear examination and low levels of anxiety in the girls sub-group (p<0.001); in the sub-group of infants aged 1-2 years only (p<0.001); and only in the group of children whose parents have attained higher education.
Conclusions: Music was shown to reduce levels of anxiety in infants aged 0-3 years during an ear examination by an ENT physician. The sub-groups in which music was most effective were girls, infants aged 1-2 years, Hebrew speaking families and parents with a higher education. No correlation was found between the parental and child anxiety.


Miki Paker MD, Salim Mazzawi MD and Ariel Koren MD

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