Surgery of any kind can be a really stressful, painful, scary and cause anxiety on its patients before and after the operation. A new research study is one step closer in demonstrating that patients who have had surgery will maybe need less pain medication, be more relaxed and satisfied if they listen to jazz music or experience complete silence when recovering.

The study took 56 patients who were then randomly assigned to either listen to jazz music (28 patients) or to wear noise-cancelling earphones (28 patients) in the postoperative care unit. All the patients’ heart rate, blood pressure and both pain and anxiety levels were checked immediately after surgery to create a baseline figure and then checked at regular intervals during the 30-minute intervention period of either jazz or silence.

What the study found was that the heart rates were significantly lower compared to baseline figures in both groups and after 20 minutes, heart rates were lower in the jazz group than in the noise-cancelation group but pain scores were tracked as being lower in the noise-cancelation group compared to the jazz group. Although jazz doesn’t help much with pain, studies have shown that music is very therapeutic.

“The goal is to find out how we can incorporate this into our care,” said Dr. Flower Austin, anesthesiology resident at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and lead study author, “We need to determine what kind of music works best, when we should play it and when silence is best. But it’s clear that music as well as silence are cost effective, non-invasive and may increase patient satisfaction.”