Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lori Gooding

Second Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger


Sound levels in the neonatal intensive care unit often exceed the recommended level of 45 dBA. Various sounds contribute to the extraneous noise that envelops this fragile environment. Increase in noise and high levels of sound can be detrimental to the health of premature infants, which can cause both short and long-term developmental delays and negative physiologic responses. Music therapy interventions in the NICU have addressed numerous needs of this population, with a positive effect on development, physiologic responses, and hospital stay. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of music therapy on decreasing the sound levels in the NICU.

Two different pods in a 66-bed NICU were used to measure sound levels for four consecutive days, alternating between days of baseline and music therapy intervention. A dosimeter was used to collect data, which was later analyzed to determine Lmin, and Lmax, and Leq. Results indicated an overall decrease in the sound levels average when music therapy intervention was present. Future studies should use multiple settings and collect data for an extended amount of time to further examine the sound levels of the NICU environment and any additional effects music therapy can have.

Included in

Music Therapy Commons