Music therapy for neurodevelopment in hospitalised infants

Infants with a history of early, prolonged hospitalisation (e.g. due to preterm birth) are widely known to experience adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Researchers have suggested that some of these neurodevelopmental outcomes might be attributed to the sensory and linguistic deprivation that characterises time spent in hospital, rather than to the medical conditions and interventions that necessitate hospitalisation. Thus, there is an increasing interest in non‐invasive environmental enrichment therapies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including music therapy. Despite being a developmentally focussed therapy, there is a surprising paucity of evidence regarding the impact of music therapy on neurodevelopment (as opposed to physiology) in infants.

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