iStock
iStock

Music May Reduce Anxiety Before Super-Stressful Eye Surgery

iStock
iStock

If you knew that somebody were about to stab you in the face, you’d probably find it pretty hard to chill. Yet researchers say that they were able to take people in that exact situation—patients about to undergo eye surgery while awake—and get them to relax by playing them music. They will present their findings [PDF] during the Euroanaesthesia 2016 conference in London this weekend.

Music as a relaxation tool is certainly nothing new. Decades of research have found that the right tune can decrease blood pressure, slow heart rate, and even curb anxiety. But none of these studies had been conducted on people waiting for their eyeballs to be punctured.

Researchers at Cochin University Hospital in Paris recruited 62 eye surgery patients. On the day of their surgery, the patients filled out questionnaires about their state of mind and their level of fear.

All the patients were told to sit quietly with high-quality headphones on during the 20 minutes before their cataract surgery. For half of those patients, the headphones blocked external sound. The other half listened to music. But it wasn’t just any music. Patients were able to choose from 16 different musical styles, all provided by a company that creates strategically relaxing music.

Here’s a little sample:

Then all the patients underwent the 15-minute surgery. Afterward, they filled out another survey about their feelings and their surgical experience.

The patients who got to listen to music were significantly better off. On average, they rated their anxiety at about 23 out of 100. Members of the control group gave their anxiety about a 65. During the operation, only 16 percent of the music group needed sedation, compared to 32 percent of the non-music group. And afterward, music listeners gave their experience a mean score of 71 points out of 100, while non-listeners averaged a 55.

Gilles Guerrier was the lead researcher on the project. "Music listening may be considered as an inexpensive, non-invasive, non-pharmacological method to reduce anxiety for patients undergoing elective eye surgery under local anaesthesia,” he said in a press statement.

Guerrier hopes to build on this study’s success. "The objective is to provide music to all patients before eye surgery,” he said. “We intend to assess the procedure in other type of surgeries, including orthopaedics where regional anaesthesia is common. Moreover, post-operative pain may be reduced by decreasing pre-operative anxiety, which is another study we intend to perform."

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
The Hidden Benefits of Your Health Insurance Plan
iStock
iStock

When we talk about health insurance, it’s usually in the context of a complaint. While it’s true that insurance companies often fight tooth and nail to keep their financial exposure limited, they’re also making moves to offer benefits beyond standard health care—and you might not even know about these perks.

A prime example is the recent trend for companies to offer a discount savings card on groceries. United Healthcare, Humana, and Medica are just a few of the insurers who have issued cards that can be used for an instant price reduction when checking out at participating stores. The catch? The programs typically cover healthy or organic foods. Along with discounted gym memberships, the benefit is an effort to keep policy holders fit and—at least theoretically—to reduce the need for medical interventions.

If you’re surprised to hear about it, you’re not alone. Here are some other programs offered by the nation's largest insurance companies that you might be missing out on. (Bear in mind that each company has various tiers of coverage and not all perks may apply to all levels.)

UNITED HEALTHCARE

The company’s Healthy Savings program for groceries allows shoppers to save on select items that change on a weekly basis. Each Sunday, the cards will recognize between $40 and $50 in deals on healthier grocery options. It’s only good at participating retailers, including Shop ‘n’ Save, Giant, and others. You can search for locations on their website.

Through UnitedHealth Allies, the company also offers discounts on weight loss programs like NutriSystem and Jenny Craig, as well as gym memberships and even active footwear [PDF].

CIGNA

The Northeast-based insurance company provides an umbrella discount service, Healthy Rewards, that offers savings on eye exams and up to 25 percent off alternative health therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage appointments [PDF]. They also offer fitness membership discounts. More information can be found at MyCigna.com.

AETNA

It’s hard to know what the pending acquisition of Aetna by pharmacy giant CVS will mean for health care perks moving forward. Currently, the company offers discounted memberships and trial passes to more than 10,000 gyms nationally, as well as discounts on home fitness equipment like treadmills [PDF]. You can also find discounts on meal home delivery subscriptions. Logged-in members can go to the Aetna website and select “Health Programs” then “Discounts” to determine your eligibility.

ANTHEM BLUECROSS

In addition to savings on groceries, gym memberships, and weight loss programs, Anthem BlueCross offers savings for members on DNA ancestry kits, pet insurance, and even baby-proofing.

HUMANA

Humana offers an impressive array of “lifestyle discounts” that range from basic wellness perks to teeth whitening, identity theft services, and 15 percent off in-network LASIK procedures. They also offer discounts on over-the-counter medications like Claritin and Advil. You can register at MyHumana.com to find out more.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Bose
Bose's New 'Sleepbuds' Are Designed to Help You Doze Off Faster
Bose
Bose

If you’re the kind of person who can’t fall asleep without the whir of a fan or some other ambient noise in the background, then Bose has a product for you. As spotted by The Verge, the audio equipment company’s new wireless noise-masking Sleepbuds are designed to fit comfortably into your ears and help you doze off faster.

The Bose sleepbuds
Bose

Unlike other Bose earbuds—and, well, most headphones in general—the Sleepbuds don’t actually play music or allow audio to be streamed from external devices. Instead, they come equipped with 10 soothing audio tracks, including brown noise, rain, ocean waves, a running stream, and more.

The earbuds aren’t noise-canceling, but their audio tracks are specifically engineered to mask certain outside sounds like traffic and, perhaps most impressively, your partner’s snoring. The rechargeable battery lasts for 16 hours, and at just 1 centimeter in width and height, they’re Bose’s tiniest product yet.

For early risers whose partners like to sleep in, the Bose Sleep app can sound off an alarm in your ear that only you can hear. The app can also be used to adjust your sleep settings, including your noise of choice, volume levels, and how long you want the sound to play for.

Bose spent a couple of years developing the product and raised over $450,000 in an Indiegogo campaign to help improve the Sleepbuds by getting backers to test them out and provide feedback. The Sleepbuds are now available for purchase on Amazon for $249.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios