Listening to music really does chill people out, a new study reveals. A team from Ryerson University says treatments integrating music and auditory beat stimulation are particularly effective in reducing anxiety in some patients. Studies show cases of anxiety have been steadily increasing, particularly among teenagers and young adults, over recent decades.
However, previous experiments have demonstrated that listening to music can reduce anxiety, perhaps even more effectively than some anti-anxiety medications. Unfortunately, data on the effects of personalized music on anxiety has been lacking.
In the new study, Canadian researchers had 163 patients taking anti-anxiety medications participate in an at-home treatment session involving music, ABS, both, or “pink noise” — background sounds similar to white noise. Artificial intelligence selected the music for each person based on the patient’s emotional state and musical preferences.
Among people with moderate anxiety before the treatment session, researchers found greater reductions in the physical symptoms of anxiety after listening to both music and ABS. Patients who listened to music alone also saw greater reductions in comparison to those listening to pink noise.
Study authors saw the greatest reductions in cognitive state anxiety — the aspect of anxiety related to thoughts and feelings — in patients with moderate anxiety who listened to both music and ABS. Among people with high anxiety before the session, the music-only group had “significantly higher” reductions in anxiety compared to the ABS group.