Listening to music can help ease menopause symptoms - study

The study is the first to examine music as a menopause treatment, rather than hypnosis, meditation or therapy.

AUDIENCE AT a music concert at the Tamar Festival, September 2021 (photo credit: HADAS LABRISCH)
AUDIENCE AT a music concert at the Tamar Festival, September 2021
(photo credit: HADAS LABRISCH)

It has long been known that music has a healing effect, triggering the release of certain "happy" neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins as well as the hormone oxytocin. Now, research indicates that tunes can also ease the menopause transition for women. 

A study published in the journal Menopause discovered that music therapy can diminish levels of depression and menopause related symptoms like hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.

The study included 48 postmenopausal women (the average age of menopause onset is 52) who were either assigned to music therapy or a control group. In the intervention group, the researchers played music for the women during 18 sessions over six weeks.

menopause play 88 298 (credit: Courtesy)menopause play 88 298 (credit: Courtesy)

Findings revealed that listening to music not only decreased depression scores in the women, it also reduced their menopause symptoms. Researchers said that this suggests music may be used as a nonpharmacologic therapeutic option for menopause.

Most studies have focused instead on other types of alternative treatments, such as hypnosis, cognitive-behavior therapies, meditation and mindfulness, but this is the first one to examine music's effects. 

“This small study highlights the potential beneficial effect of an easy-to-implement, low-cost, low-tech, and low-risk intervention such as music therapy for menopause symptoms, particularly mood symptoms," according to Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society.

"Although additional research is needed to confirm these findings in larger study populations, there is little downside to adding music therapy to our armamentarium for menopause symptom management.”