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J Perinatol. 2000 Dec;20(8 Pt 2):S61-7.

Evaluating studies of the behavioral effects of sound on newborns.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas-Houston Medical School, 6431 Fannin St., Rm. 6.133, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Studies of the effects of sound on newborns can provide good information of use in clinical practice even though most were not designed for that purpose. Unfortunately, however, some poor-quality research has yielded unfounded yet clinically popular results. The clinician, therefore, must be careful in assessing the validity and reliability of research as well as the applicability of its findings to the care of individual patients. This article offers a checklist for evaluating research using auditory stimuli with newborns. Caveats concerning the newborn's gestational age and behavior (e.g., state, movement, attention, and habituation) are discussed. Particular design problems related to sound measurements and stimuli are identified. Clinicians are cautioned about applying findings from studies of term newborns to the care of preterm infants.

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