Does your operating room play music?

If the patient is having problems, does the music get turned off?

Shouldn't that happen automatically???



"Music...has become a universal phenomenon in the operating room." (Padmakumar et al, 2016)

"In the operations we observed, dance music and drum and bass were often played fairly loudly, whilst patients were anesthetized." (Weldon)

"Sometimes it took awhile to reduce the volume on the sound system, for instance, when a nurse was trying to find the volume control on an anaesthetist's iPod.  Such delays in minimising noise and rapid changes in volume can become critical for safety, especially during emergencies when hearing and speaking clearly are paramount." (Weldon)

"It has been shown that music in the OR (operating room) interferes with the ability to appreciate heart tones and lung sounds during auscultation.  Also, interference with the sound of alarms can occur.  In one report, 62% of anesthesiologists liked music in the OR, 51% felt that music was a distraction when problems were encountered, and other common complaints were that music often reduced vigilance and impaired communication with OR personnel." (Strickland, p.11)

"Some workers have suggested the use of smart music systems." (Padmakumar)


Today's operating rooms reverberate constantly with noise from forced air warmers, suction, powered orthopedic equipment, clanging metal instruments, voices, and everpresent streaming music.  Acoustic fatigue from noise levels in excess of 80dB is common, however, little has been done to mitigate noise when the clinical situation demands a quieter environment.  This is the problem we address.  CanaryBox uses novel integrated algorithms to efficiently reduce unnecessary ambient noise, improving communication among the surgical team and enhancing workflow. 



  • Noise in the Operating Room.  Katz, J.  Anesthesiology 2014; 121:894-8.

  • Music in the Operating Room:  Is it a Safety Hazard?  Shambo et al.  AANA 2015 Feb; 83(1) 43-8.

  • Music and communication in the operating theatre. Weldon S-M., Korkiakangas T., Bezemer J. & Kneebone R. (2015) Journal of Advanced Nursing 71(12), 2763–2774. doi: 10.1111/jan.12744

  • Effect of noise on tasks in operating theatres: a survey of the perceptions of healthcare staff.  A.D. Padmakumar, , O. Cohen, , A. Churton, , J.B. Groves, , D.A. Mitchell, , P.A. Brennan.  British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Available online 31 October 2016

  • Music in the Operating Room: Harmony or Discord?  Strickland, Robert A.  Bulletin of Anesthesia History , October 2007; 25(3): 10 - 12

  • Music in theatre: not so harmonious. A survey of attitude to music played in the operating theatre. Hawksworth, C., Asbury, A.J., Millar, K. Anaesthesia. 1997;52:79–83.

  • IntraoperativeNoise Increases Perceived Task Load and Fatigue in Anesthesiology Residents – A Simulation-Based Study.  McNeer et al.  Anesth Analg 2016 Feb; 122(2):512-25.

  • Effect of Noise on Auditory Processing in the Operating Room.  Way et al.  J Am Coll Surg 2013 May; 216(5) 933-38.

  • Smart Operating Room Music.  MacDonald.  Anesth Analg 2015 Sept; 121(3):836.

  • Effects of divided attention and operating room noise on perception of pulse oximeter pitch changes: a laboratory study.  Stevenson et al.  Anesthesiology 2013 Feb; 118(2):376-81.

  • BBC World News - Music in the operating theatre:

  • Music in the operating room: 

  • Case Report: