According to a study, treatment methods combining music and auditory beat stimulation work well for reducing state anxiety in some individuals. There has been a steady increase in anxiety in recent years, especially in the young adult and adolescent populations.
Previous research has shown that listening to music helps to reduce anxiety, possibly even better than some anti-anxiety drugs. Quantitative data on the effects of personalized music on anxiety has however been inadequate.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259312
For the study, 163 individuals using anti-anxiety drugs were randomly assigned to take part in a treatment session at home which involved either music, auditory beat stimulation, or both, or pink noise ambient sounds much the same as white noise.
Music selection for each individual was made using LUCID’s artificial intelligence that curates music according to the music preferences and emotional state of the individual.
Auditory beat stimulation consists of tone combinations, played in one or both of the ears, created to trigger brain activity changes. Individuals in all groups were instructed to download a custom-made smartphone application for the treatment and listen to a 24-minute session with their eyes closed.
In individuals who had moderate anxiety prior to the treatment, greater reductions in the physical symptoms of anxiety known as somatic anxiety were observed in those individuals listening to both music and auditory beat stimulation or individuals listening to just music, in comparison to those individuals listening to the pink noise.
The greatest reductions in the aspect of anxiety associated with feelings and thoughts known as cognitive state anxiety were also observed in moderate trait anxiety individuals who listened to music as well as auditory beat stimulation.
Among individuals with high trait anxiety prior to the session, the music-alone group had considerably higher reductions in anxiety in comparison to the group listening to just auditory beat stimulation.
The researchers conclude that sound-based therapies can be effective for the reduction of state anxiety and possibly provide a simple and easy to distribute way to treat anxiety.
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