Date of Award
Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review
Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant
Physician Assistant Studies
Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not binaural beats are effective at reducing anxiety in patients undergoing medical intervention.
Study Design: Literature review of three English peer-reviewed studies, published on or after January 1, 2008.
Data Sources: Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were found using a search via the Cochrane Collaboration. These studies were selected based on relevance to binaural audio being used for reduction of anxiety and that the outcomes mattered to patients.
Outcomes Measured: The outcomes addressed in this study include patient anxiety levels preand post-operatively. Outcomes were measured using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).
Results: Isik et al found that at the pretest measurement of patients about to undergo dental surgery there was no significant difference (p=0.402) in anxiety felt in the experimental and control groups (t= -0,250, df 58, 95% CI of difference between means -1.323 to 1.030; difference= -0.147), however the second measurement performed after application of binaural audio to the experimental group demonstrated a significant difference (p= 0.006) in which the experimental group felt less anxiety (t= -2.843, df 58; 95% CI -3.061 to -0.532; difference = - 1.797) (British journal of oral & maxillofacial surgery. 2017;55(6):571‐574). Weiland et al found that out of the 169 patients undergoing emergency room procedures who completed the pre and post intervention anxiety self-assessments, there was a significant decrease (all P<0.001) in anxiety levels among patients exposed to binaural audio composition with state anxiety reduced 10-15% in moderately anxious emergency department patients (Medical journal of Australia. 2011;195(11):694‐698). Wiwatwongwana et al found that patients in the binaural beats (BB) and musical intervention (MI) group showed a significant reduction of STAI state scores after music intervention compared with the control group (P<0.001); additionally, the difference between the BB and MI groups was not found to be significant (STAI-S score MI group -7.0, BB group -9.0, P = 0.085) (Eye [london, England]. 2016;30(11):1407‐1414).
Conclusions: All three studies demonstrated that binaural beats are a beneficial and effective treatment to reduce preoperative anxiety. Implementing binaural beats may be a valuable nonpharmacologic treatment option for anxious preoperative patients when compared to toxic and addictive anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines.
German, Cory, "Are Binaural Beats Effective at Reducing Anxiety in Patients Undergoing Medical Intervention?" (2020). PCOM Physician Assistant Studies Student Scholarship. 515.