The Effects of Recorded Music Therapist’s Singing Voice and Recorded Mothers’ Singing Voice on the Transition Preterm Infants from Incubator to Open Crib


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A majority of preterm, very low birth weight, and low birth weight infants is thought to be deprived of auditory stimulation needed for normal maturation. It is known that preterm infants by 26 weeks gestation perceive and respond to sounds such as their mothers’ voice and general speech (Hall, 2000), and that auditory stimulation may positively influence physiological and growth outcomes after birth (Cassidy & Standley, 1995). While auditory stimulation is known to affect health outcomes such as weight and length of stay in hospital, what is not clear is whether the changes that occur as a result of the stimulation will influence the infants’ transition from the incubator to an open crib and whether one type of stimulus (recorded music therapist’s singing voice or infants’ mothers’ singing voice) is more effective than another. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of auditory stimulation (recorded music therapist’s singing voice and recorded infants’ mothers’ singing voice) on preterm infants’ 1) length of time to transition from the incubator to the open crib, and 2) growth (weight in grams) during this transition period. The study used an experimental pre-test, post-test design. Ninety preterm infants enrolled in three study groups were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups (recorded music therapist’s singing voice or recorded mothers’ singing voice) or to a control group. Music was played for 20 minutes, three times per day for three days per week until the infant transitioned out of the incubator to the open crib. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (central tendency, ranges, standard deviations, and percentages) to characterize the sample and the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine differences among the three groups on study variables of growth and length of time to transition to an open crib. Findings showed no significant differences between the group on weight gain or length of transition time. Although not significant, a trend was found in weight gain with recorded music therapist voice showing a higher mean weight. From this sample of infants it can be concluded that recorded music has no effect on growth and intra-nursery transition.



preterm infants, neonatal intensive care unit, music therapy