What is Sound Therapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2019
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Sound therapy is an approach to the treatment of hearing problems, stress, and mental health issues with the use of sound. It is considered a form of alternative medical therapy and may not be covered by insurance providers and government benefits programs. Some people use this therapy in complementary medicine, where they mix conventional and alternative approaches to treatment, and others may use it as a standalone therapy. Practitioners can be found in many regions and have varying qualifications.

Promoters of sound therapy believe that sound can be relaxing and soothing for people and this can be harnessed in treatment for various conditions. Some people may engage in their own sound therapy by listening to relaxing, pleasant music while meditating or relaxing at the end of a stressful day. Sound therapy programs designed for people with stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues may include listening to selected tones, as well as listening to music and nature sounds like waves or animals.


Some practitioners claim this therapy can be used in the treatment of conditions like auditory processing disorder and tinnitus, to retrain the ears. Such programs have varying degrees of success and have not been studied extensively in controlled environments. People with sensory sensitivity sometimes use sound therapy in systematic desensitization, where they use low-level sound to get used to hearing noises so they can feel more comfortable in loud or chaotic environments. Sensitivity to particular sounds or ranges of sounds may also be addressed in this way.

Approaches to sound therapy vary, from people who believe it can be applied to everything from stress to cancer to advocates for the use of this therapy as an adjunct medical treatment. A commonly accepted use of sound therapy in traditional medicine involves the employment of a white noise machine at night to help people sleep. People with sleep disorders sometimes find it easier to sleep with white noise or mild background noises in the bedroom to drown out environmental noises.

People interested in using this technique or integrating it into an existing treatment plan can discuss options with alternative medical providers in their areas. Searching for “sound therapy” and a specific region in a search engine should also turn up a list of people offering this service. Providers with websites usually provide information about their treatment philosophies, techniques, and services offered to give prospective clients some idea of whether they would be a good fit.



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