Music is currently played in approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of surgical operations performed worldwide. In a new study of 20 operations conducted in the UK, repeated requests–for example, for a surgical instrument–were 5 times more likely to occur in surgeries with music than in those without.
The findings suggest that music during surgery can lead to increased tensions due to frustration at ineffective communication. In addition, patient safety could potentially be affected due to miscommunication.
“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,” said Sharon Weldon, lead author of the Journal of Advanced Nursing study.