Becoming a great surgeon takes years of studying and practice but there are still a lot of minor things that can help you be even better. Researchers from Dundee University have determined that listening to classical music during operations significantly improves the work of surgeons.
The researchers published their study in the International Journal of Surgery and according to it listening to either Mozart or Bach improves the speed and quality of the surgeons’ work by ~11% (1).
The reason for these results is the so-called “Mozart effect” (2) – the calming, stress-reducing effect of gentle music that helps us focus during work. What’s more, the study also showed that the patients themselves required fewer painkillers and lighter anesthetic while the music was playing.
The type of music is important but so is the way it’s played. The study determined that for the best result the music should be played at low to medium volume. Playing high-beat or loud music seemed to have an opposite effect – the surgeons were stressed out and distracted, and there was an increase in post-operative infections.
One of the researchers in the study, Michael El Boghdady, said that:
“The total and significant outcome of the present study was that the positive effect of music on surgeons’ task performance, overrides its negative effect. Classical music when played with a low to medium volume can improve the surgical task performance by increasing both accuracy and speed. The distracting effect of music should also be put in consideration when playing a loud or high-beat type of music in the operating theatres.”
The study also mentioned that many operating theaters already play music for their surgeons for these exact reasons. However, maybe it’s time for all other hospitals to also consider adopting this practice.