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Audioanalgesia (also known as audio-analgesia) is the relief of pain using white noise or music without using pharmacological agents while doing painful medical procedures such as dental treatments. It was first introduced by Gardner and Licklider in 1959.[1][2]

There are many studies of this technique in dental,[3] obstetric,[4] and palliative care[5] contexts. The most recent review reports mixed results for effectiveness.[6] This questionable pain management strategy might prove useful in distraction and sensory confusion, but only when combined with actual pain relief medications. There is no research to suggest these dubious results will ever be effective other than as a means of self-distraction. This measure is similar to breathing exercises during cramps before administration of epidurals.

It has also been suggested that music may stimulate the production of endorphins and catecholamines.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gardner, WJ; Licklider JC (1959). "Auditory analgesia in dental operations". J Am Dent Assoc. 59: 1144–1149. PMID 13826544.
  2. ^ Gardner, W. J., Licklider, J. C. R., & Weisz, A. Z. (1960). Suppression of Pain by Sound. Science, 132, 32-33.
  3. ^ British Dental Journal
  4. ^ P. Simkin, A. Bolding "Update on nonpharmacologic approaches to relieve labor pain and prevent suffering" Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, Volume 49, no. 6, p. 489-504 online version Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Phillip J. Wiffen, "Evidence-Based Pain Management and Palliative Care" Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy Volume 18, Issue 1, 2004, Pages 79 – 85 Cochrane Library
  6. ^ "A survey investigation of the effects of music listening on chronic pain" Laura A. Mitchell et al, Psychology of Music abstract

Further reading[edit]