A not-so-new medical finding confirmed that human beings can begin to hear long before we are born. Because of this, a newborn’s ears are highly sensitive upon first entering the world, being dramatically affected by the many noises around it, which can prove scary and actually harmful to a developing brain. According to ScienceAlert, nearly 50% of infants born before the end of the third trimester will be diagnosed with some type of developmental brain disorder.
Protecting the physical and mental well-being of a newborn is a priority for all parties involved. With that said, one way to do just that is to expose your child to music as early as possible, especially those born prematurely. This has been proven to steady an infant’s heart rate, their breathing patterns, and help with sleep and appetite.
There are countless studies supporting this evidence. Even babies born as early as four months before their expected due dates benefitted from daily music exposure, showing improved brain development compared to those that did not listen to music. Results were recorded using MRI to read the neural networks of these children, which displayed higher connectivity and functionality reflective of those within a healthy, full-term newborn.
This entire concept is supported by the fact that the environments in which infants find themselves immediately after being born can be highly overwhelming compared to safety and security of the womb. The hustle and bustle of hospitals can make for some unsettling sounds to a newborn, whether those are loud conversations, alarms, doors slamming shut, etc. It is strongly believed that these distressing noises could be wasting energy that would otherwise develop the brains of newborns; something calming music can combat.
The brains of newly born infants are still very immature and require specific conditions in order to properly develop; those that are reminiscent of their mothers’ wombs. Anything else, combined with the overwhelming sounds of a busy hospital, can prevent a baby’s neural networks from developing normally.
What’s even more exciting is being able to study the effects of this musical therapy on those newborns that have since grown up. Researchers will want to test whether or not these benefits have been maintained throughout the children’s lives thus far, which could create a new standard among nurseries and NICUs (neonatal intensive care units) around the world.