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October 2021

Presentation of Aural Stimuli to Newborns and Premature Infants: An Audiological Perspective

Journal/Book: J Music Ther. 1999; 35: 70-87.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to examine extant research in the field of music with premature and full term infants in order to identify protocols being used in the presentation of musical stimuli to neonates and (b) to use knowledge gleaned from audiology as a basis for suggesting a standardized protocol for use of musical stimuli with infants. Articles considered appropriate for inclusion in the analysis met the following criteria: (a) presented data for the effects of music on a dependent measure, (b) had subjects who were identified as either premature or term newborns receiving treatment after birth and prior to discharge from the hospital, and (c) used music for some or all of the aural stimuli. Articles (N = 20) were categorized by demographic information, types of aural stimuli, independent variables, dependent measures, and protocol used to present the musical stimuli. Of primary importance to this study was the protocol used in each study to present musical stimuli. Data regarding total duration of stimuli per day, longest duration of stimuli per day, method of stimuli presentation, placement of speakers, decibel level of stimuli, and where;he decibel level was measured reveal that there is no standard protocol being followed with regard to the presentation of aural stimuli. Recommendations include future research on (a) determining a minimum gestational age where music therapy may be appropriate, (b) determining the frequency spectrum perceived by a premature infant, (c) determining the decibel levels reaching the ear drum and assessing appropriate levels for minimum stimulation with maximum results, and (d) carefully considering the method of stimulus presentation as it will have an impact on the decibel level reaching the ear drum of these infants.

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