Did you know that TBI music therapy can help you overcome many of your TBI side effects?
It’s true! Music therapy for TBI patients is a great way to boost your recovery and can help improve your memory, attention, and other cognitive skills.
It can even improve your motor learning and language skills, which will help you relearn how to walk and talk after a brain injury.
In this article, we’ll show you the science behind music therapy’s benefits and why you should integrate it into your traumatic brain injury treatment.
Before we get started though, let’s discuss what exactly music therapy is, and what it isn’t.
The Beauty of TBI Music Therapy
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is not really new. People have been using music as a healing technique for thousands of years.
However, with the arrival of brain imaging technology, scientists were able to confirm what many instinctively knew: that music positively affects the brain.
In fact, music is one of the only sensory experiences that activates every area of the brain!
For example, researchers found that the brain areas activated by music were also active in processing language, attention, memory, executive function, and motor control and that “music efficiently accesses and activates these systems.”
This has huge implications for brain injury patients since one of the main goals in TBI recovery is to stimulate the brain and activate neuroplasticity (i.e. the brain’s natural mechanism for healing itself).
The more your brain is stimulated, the more neural pathways are formed in response to that stimulation until eventually abilities are recovered.
Is Listening to Music the Same as TBI Music Therapy?
Listening to your favorite tunes is certainly good for your brain’s health, but it won’t give you quite the same benefits as music therapy will.
This is because music therapy is more than just passively listening to music. It involves actively engaging your brain with the music under the instruction of a trained music therapist.
Music affects the brain in observable and repeatable ways, and this has enabled researchers and therapists to come up with specific interventions to get the results a person needs.
But what do these interventions look like? And what are the results? We’ll cover those in the section below.
Music Therapy Improves Language Difficulties After TBI
Interestingly, even when a brain injury is so severe that a person is unable to speak, they can usually still sing!
The reason people can do this is because singing engages the right side of the brain. In contrast, speaking utilizes the left side.
Since most speaking disorders are caused by damage to the left side of the brain, the side that controls singing remains intact.
This fact led speech therapists to develop a technique known as melodic intonation therapy.
Melodic intonation therapy involves singing simple words or phrases to the tune of familiar melodies. With enough repetition, patients eventually turn their singing speech into normal speech.
What’s more, most patients permanently maintain the improvements that they gain. This makes it a very effective way to re-learn how to speak.
If you’re struggling with learning to speak again after brain injury, consider seeking out a speech therapist trained in this type of music therapy.
Improve Cognitive Difficulties with TBI Music Therapy
Music therapy can also improve cognitive function, especially in the areas of memory, attention and concentration.
Studies show that learning lists through singing activates the temporal and frontal lobes on both sides of the brain, while spoken-word learning activates only the left side.
This fact explains why we were all taught to sing our ABCs in school. Music makes memorization easier!
To help improve your memory after TBI, a music therapist might use familiar music to help you embed information in song-form.
You can try this on your own too. Next time you go to the grocery store, try singing the items on your grocery list to the tune of your favorite song. It’ll surprise you how much better you’ll remember what you need.
To improve your attention and concentration, play some music on the radio and focus on it without distractions. Try paying close attention to the rhythm and lyrics.
You may feel like nothing is happening, but in reality, your brain is regaining the ability to concentrate again.
Music Therapy for Regaining Movement
Finally, the most well-documented benefit of music therapy for TBI patients is how it improves movement.
How does it do this?
Well, one of the key aspects in skilled movement is timing. If you don’t have a good sense of timing, you won’t be able to correctly execute movement.
With music therapy, musical rhythms are used as cues to help people regain muscle control and synchronize their movements.
Patients following rhythmic cues from music are even able to move limbs that they previously had no control over!
This is why music-based rehab devices, like our MusicGlove, help patients recover movement faster than traditional therapy.
MusicGlove works by motivating users to perform hundreds of therapeutic hand and finger exercises through engaging musical games – and it’s clinically proven to restore hand strength in 2 weeks.
TBI Music Therapy
Music therapy offers a cutting-edge approach to recovery from TBI. It improves cognition, boosts muscle control, and helps relearn speech.
Because it engages several different areas in the brain at once, it’s effective for improving overall brain function.
We hope this article has inspired you to incorporate music therapy into your regimen and boost your recovery.