Premature babies struggle from the start, and although their auditory processing networks are well developed by the third trimester, the sensory overload that comes from being in a neonatal intensive care unit can have profound effects on their long term development. This research is therefore very important, not just for preterm babies but for their parents and further down the track, their teachers.
“An international research team has shown, for the first time, that music therapy applied to preterm infants can influence the structural maturation of their auditory and emotional brain areas. MRI studies on premature babies show that by term-equivalent age, these infants’ brains are structurally different from those of healthy full-term born babies. This evidence raises the question whether this could be due to the fact that these babies are exposed to different noxious events and deprived of meaningful sensory inputs whilst in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) during a period of critical brain development. One possible solution is the use of music therapy to provide meaningful sensory stimulation, with the aim of improving early brain maturation.”
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