Background Music Strategy

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The Best Waiting Room Music to Play In a Doctor’s Office

by Ryan Santangelo, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CEO, Dynamic Media

The best doctor’s office music

We all know that waiting in a doctor’s office can be nerve-wracking. But what you may not know is that the waiting room music you play can impact the health and well-being of your patients.

Dozens of research articles show that the right background music can reduce waiting room anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve patient satisfaction, and even increase compliance with medical treatment plans. On the other hand, the wrong music has been shown to cause anxiety, irritability, and even pain.

When done right, playing waiting room background music will benefit your patients and staff. When done wrong, music will hurt your medical practice.

So, how do you ensure you’re playing the right music in your doctor’s office? With over 20 years in the background music industry as our guide, we’ll help you understand the tips, tricks, and best practices for legally streaming music as a positive force for your patients and your bottom line. Keep reading to learn more.


Key Takeaways

  • Streaming background music in a waiting room allows doctors to help patients better.
  • Not all background music services are licensed for commercial use.
  • Some of the basics of listening to music and its practical applications for doctors waiting rooms make it easy to create a background music strategy.
The best music for a doctor’s waiting room

Use Waiting Room Background Music to Relax the Body

The waiting room can be a stressful place. Stressed patients often have uncontrolled movements, restlessness, worry, and tension. This is not a good physical state for a patient to be in before undergoing medical examination or treatment. Fortunately, waiting room music can reduce stress levels by relaxing the body.

Fast Fact: Research shows that waiting room music can significantly reduce stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Other articles show that waiting room music can slow a person’s breathing, calm their heart rate, and even boost their immune system.

One study in the British journal The Lancet found that waiting room music can help to reduce physical stress by up to 21 percent!

The takeaway for medical offices is clear. The right background music can help your patients physically relax during those crucial minutes before seeing the doctor.

Use Waiting Room Music to Relax the Mind

    Every doctor understands the advantages of working with a calm and rational patient. Patients with a calm mind are more likely to accept advice, follow treatment instructions, and stay on their prescriptions.

    One of the best ways to calm patients is by playing waiting room music. Ambient music has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate while also reducing anxiety and stress.

    In one study, patients who listened to music before a medical procedure reported feeling less anxious and more relaxed than those who did not listen to music. Other studies have shown that listening to music before an office visit can help to distract from pre-procedure nerves and provide a sense of control for patients.

    Tip: The right music in a waiting room can make a big difference in how a patient feels. Using music to relax bodies and soothe minds will lead to more productive office visits, more satisfied patients, and better health outcomes.

    Use Waiting Room Music to Improve Patient Privacy

    Few things are more private to a person than their medical condition. People go to great lengths to keep their medical information confidential. But in a doctor’s office waiting room full of other people, it can be challenging to keep conversations private.

    The best doctors office waiting room musicImportant: Playing music in a waiting room can help reduce the risk of patients overhearing each other’s conversations.

    In one study, researchers found that playing music at a moderate volume in a waiting room significantly reduced the amount of conversation overheard by patients. This is especially important in light of HIPAA regulations, which require that healthcare professionals take measures to protect the confidentiality of patient information.

    The takeaway: Playing the right music in the waiting room not only keeps patients calm and focused, but it also helps protect patients’ privacy and keeps your office compliant with federal regulations.

    How to Choose the Best Music for Medical Office Waiting Rooms

    Now that you understand the importance of using the right waiting room music, it’s time to choose the best music for your medical office.

    Step 1: Define Your Atmosphere

    The first step in choosing your playlist is to decide the type of waiting room atmosphere you want to create. The three most essential elements to consider are the purpose of your waiting room, the age range of your patients, and the vibe you want to create.

    With these factors in mind, let’s look at some waiting room music genres that may be a good fit for your medical office.

    Step 2: Select Your Genre

    Genre is the style of music, which is determined by the instruments used, the rhythm, and the song’s overall feel. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting your genre, but the list of suggestions below will get you thinking as the professionals do.

    Upbeat and Positive | Pop Music

    Pop music is often upbeat and positive, making it a great waiting room choice if you want to create an energetic and optimistic atmosphere. Here are the best SiriusXM Business channels to support this type of environment.

    • Channel 15: Pop Mix Modern
    • Channel 16: Pop Mix Bright
    • Channel 691: Work Day Mix
    • Channel 63: Contemporary Christian

    Calm and Relaxing | Classical Music

    If you’re looking to provide a calm and serene waiting room experience, classical music may be the way to go. The soft melodies and lack of lyrics in classical pieces can help lower blood pressure and anxiety levels. Try two of SiriusXM’s most popular classical music stations:

    • Channel 76: Symphony Hall
    • Channel 755: SiriusXM Pops

    Sophisticated and Stylish | Jazz Music

    Jazz waiting room music is perfect for creating a sophisticated and stylish atmosphere. The smooth sounds of jazz can help your waiting room feel more luxurious and inviting. Here are two channels perfect for medical spas and cosmetic offices.

    • Channel 66: Smooth Jazz
    • Channel 67: Classic Jazz

    Peaceful | Ambient and Chill Music

    Ambient and chill waiting room music options are ideal for creating a relaxing and peaceful environment. The soft, atmospheric sounds of ambient music can help patients feel more relaxed and at ease. The characteristics of chill music are similar to ambient but with a slightly more upbeat tempo. Chillax your patients with these SiriusXM favorites:

    • Channel 68: Spa
    • Xtra Channel: Chill Hop
    • Xtra Channel: Chill Instrumental

    Kid-Friendly | Kids’ Music

    If you have children waiting with their parents, consider waiting room music to keep them entertained. Kids’ music can help waiting room time fly by, and it’s a great way to make your young patients feel more comfortable. Check out these fun SiriusXM channels that the kids will love:

    • Channel 79: Kidz Bop Radio
    • Channel 78: Kids Place Live

    Step 3: Set Your Volume

    What is the best doctor’s office musicAfter you’ve chosen your genre and channel, the next issue to consider is volume. It is essential to strike the right balance between too loud and too soft because the wrong volume control can cause distress to patients.

    Music playing too loud increases anxiety, causing people to feel pressured, distracted, or rushed. On the other hand, music played too softly will reduce personal privacy, causing patients to feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, and even paranoid.

    The good news is that there are some hard and fast rules for setting your music volume to ensure you get it right every time.

    Perfect Volume Every Time

    Music volume is measured in decibels, which is a unit used to measure the intensity of sound. Go to your favorite app store and download a free decibel reader like Decibel X. Keep adjusting the music volume until you reach the ideal decibel level shown in the list below.

    • 60-70 dB: This is the ideal range for waiting room music. The music is noticeable but not too loud or intrusive.
    • 70-80 dB: This is the upper limit for waiting room music. The music is still audible but may be distracting for some patients.
    • 80 dB and above: This is too loud for waiting room music and can be intrusive, anxious-producing, and even painful.

    Step 4: Lyrics or No Lyrics?

    Instrumental music is music without lyrics, and lyrical music is music with lyrics. The debate about which type of waiting room music is best has been going on for years, but there is finally some scientific evidence to support one side.

    According to a study published in the journal PLOS One, waiting room music with lyrics is more effective at reducing anxiety than instrumental music.

    The study found that waiting room music with lyrics can help to:

    • Distract patients from their anxious thoughts
    • Provide a sense of social connectedness
    • Create a positive waiting room experience

    If you decide to play waiting room music with lyrics, make sure to choose songs with positive, uplifting lyrics that will not be offensive to any of your patients. Negative or depressing lyrics can increase anxiety and stress levels.

    Choosing the best doctor’s office musicUltimately, whether you run a general practice or are a specialist, the decision to use instrumental or lyrical music should focus on creating the most comfortable atmosphere for your patients. Playing the right music that makes sense in any particular moment is the ultimate goal, and by following these steps, you’re sure to get there.

    The Bottom Line

    The best doctor’s office background music for your office will improve your patients’ physical and psychological health. The best waiting room music connects your waiting room atmosphere to the right genre, volume, and lyrics. By considering the atmosphere you want to create along with your patient demographics, you can design a waiting room experience that is both relaxing and enjoyable for your patients.

    SiriusXM Music for Business: How to Legally Play Music in your Waiting Room

    Did you know that the waiting room is not the only place in a medical office where music can be used to improve patient care? Music can also be used in examination rooms, waiting areas, and even surgical waiting rooms.

    You can also use waiting room music as an opportunity to promote your brand. If you have a unique waiting room experience, it can be a selling point for potential patients. Contact our team to explore how legal music can make a difference in your medical practice.

    SiriusXM Music for Business is a leader in legal streaming music for medical waiting rooms, survey centers, recovery rooms, and other medical applications. With 240+ channels, 10,000+ Pandora artist stations, and hundreds of officially licensed, carefully cultivated playlists, our waiting room music helps keep your medical office a calm and welcoming environment that supports the health of your patients.

    And, when you choose a SiriusXM Music for Business dedicated player, you get access to additional features like channel blocking, overhead messaging, and scheduling to give your staff the power to choose which music plays during certain business hours. SiriusXM Music for Business is music for waiting rooms and doctor’s offices done right. Contact our team and start streaming music in your offices today.

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