Tsivian, M., Qi, P., Kimura, M., Chen, V.H., Chen, S.H., Gan, T.J., & Polascik, T.J. (2012). The effect of noise-cancelling headphones or music on pain perception and anxiety in men undergoing transrectal prostate biopsy. Urology, 79, 32–36.doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2011.09.037
To assess the effect of noise-canceling headphones, with or without music, on patient pain and anxiety associated with routine, office-based transrectal ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy
Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: control group (no noise-canceling headphones), headphones group (patients wore noise-canceling headphones), or music group (which listened to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos through noise-canceling headphones). Patients donned headphones immediately before the procedure, after hearing a thorough description of the procedure and getting into position for the procedure.
Randomized controlled trial
Mean VRS scores showed that pain significantly increased from baseline to postprocedure for all groups (control group, 0.79–2.49, p = 0.001; headphones group, 0.89–2.29, p = 0.009; music group, 0.52–2.13, p < 0.001). In no group did anxiety level change from baseline to postprocedure. The music group had the lowest overall mean State-Trait Anxiety score. Blood pressure levels remained fairly stable from baseline to postprocedure. The control group’s mean diastolic blood pressure increased from 82.3 to 88.4, the headphones group’s mean diastolic blood pressure increased from 79.38 to 81.9, and the music group’s mean diastolic blood pressure increased from 82.5 to 84.9. Authors reported that these changes were not statistically significant.
According to this study, music or noise-canceling headphones do not appear to relieve pain perception and anxiety during transrectal prostate biopsy; however, further research is warranted due to the small sample size.
Although this study did not find music or noise-canceling headphones to be effective in decreasing pain perception and anxiety, nurses may want to ask patients if they would like to listen to music in the circumstances outlined. Listening to music may be a distraction and potentially mitigate pain.