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19.02.2018 | original article | Ausgabe 7-8/2018

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 7-8/2018

Physiologic effects of voice stimuli in conscious and unconscious palliative patients—a pilot study

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 7-8/2018
Kerstin Buchholz, Patrick Liebl, Christian Keinki, Natalie Herth, Prof. Dr. Jutta Huebner



Sounds and acoustic stimuli can have an effect on human beings. In medical care, sounds are often used as parts of therapies, e. g., in different types of music therapies. Also, human speech greatly affects the mental status. Although calming sounds and music are widely established in the medical field, clear evidence for the effect of sounds in palliative care is scare, and data about effects of the human voice in general are still missing. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different voice stimuli on palliative patients.


Two different voice stimuli (one calm, the other turbulent) were presented in a randomized sequence, and physiological parameters (blood pressure, heart frequency, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate) were recorded.


Twenty patients (14 conscious and 6 unconscious) participated in this study. There was a decrease of heart frequency as well as an increase of oxygen saturation in the group of conscious patients, whereas no significant change of blood pressure or respiratory rate were detected in either group, conscious and unconscious patients.


Although our dataset is heterogeneous, it can be concluded that voice stimuli can influence conscious patients. However, in this setting, no effect on unconscious patients was demonstrated. More clinical research on this topic with larger groups and a broader spectrum of parameters is needed.

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