New research shows playing drum 'n' bass during surgery could put patients at risk

If you were planning on getting surgery any time soon, you might want to consider asking your surgeon to refrain from playing drum ‘n’ bass during the procedure. Why? New research from the National Journal of Nurses indicates that when music—specifically, dance music—is played while surgeons are working, communication difficulties arise, negatively affecting their ability to stay focused.

Researchers reviewed 35 hours of operating room camera footage spanning 20 unique surgeries. Music was played during 16 of the 20 procedures and drum ‘n’ bass and dance music were played louder than other genres. Videos show nurses frequently struggling to understand the surgeon while music is playing, making the need to repeat requests five times more likely to occur than when operating in silence. These communication inefficiencies and inaccuracies could put the patient at risk, investigators asserted.

Lead author of the study, Sharon Weldon, said,

“Our study shows that playing music in the operating theatre can run counter to effective communication and highlights the need to consider both positive and negative effects of music on staff and patients.”

Music is played during 50% to 70% of surgeries around the world, and many operating theaters contain a music player. Interestingly, findings from the National Journal of Nurses’ study contrasted with prior data demonstrating that music can decrease surgeons’ stress and positively affect their abilities. Additionally, results from a study published by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal showed that music improved quality and reduced surgery time by 8% to 10% among plastic surgeons who were asked to sew a wound with and without music playing.

H/T: The Independent

Featured image: @gchutka/