Doctors use music therapy to help NICU babies develop

Doctors donate own money for in-room NICU music

CARMEL, Ind. - When rooms were remodeled just a couple months ago at the neo-natal unit at St. Vincent Carmel in Indiana, doctors considered not only how they would look, but also how they would sound.

Dr. Ken Templeton, a neonatal physician at the hospital, said he and fellow physicians feel so strongly about the benefits of music for preemies that they donated some of their own money to help install a music system that plays in each private room.

"There's a different feel to these rooms than rooms in other areas and other hospitals," Templeton said. "It's one of a lot of steps in the right direction in trying to improve how babies do long-term."

Research proves stimulation early-on can help speed development so preemies can reach milestones on time later in life.

Parents can select the channel and control the volume themselves. Templeton said it doesn't matter what's playing.

"This provides some auditory stimulation that the developing brain seems to need," he said. "And we find that it actually doesn't matter much whether it's Metallica or Mozart."

Rachel Evens -- the mother of twins Leigh and Reid, born on Friday -- said she believes the music has been beneficial to both her and her new babies.

"I think it's nice to have the music to drown out some of the monitors or the beeping or different things they have to have on them when they're here being monitored," Evens said.

Templeton said the babies and their families aren’t the only ones benefiting from the power of music.

"If you go to any of our operating rooms, the surgeons and the anesthesiologists in most of them will have music playing in the background," he said. "It just improves people's function and focus."

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