Brain Music May Improve Emergency Response

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

The Science and Technology Department from the US Department of Homeland Security reports new research is underway, testing the effect of music derived from brain waves on improved emergency response and stress reduction after a crisis. The brain music program includes federal agents, police, and firefighters.

Brain music, created by Human Bionics LLC, is being tested as part of an evaluation on the potential to boost emergency preparedness, and calm nerves after an emergency occurs. Testing the effects of brain music is part of the S&T Readiness Optimization Program (ROP). Robert Burns, S&T program manager says, "Our goal is to find new ways to help first responders perform at the highest level possible, without increasing tasks, training, or stress levels.”

A recent focus on the role of music and emotional well-being and cognitive performance prompted the brain music tests. Scientists have discovered that every brain makes music. Brain music varies depending on mood and mental state.

Human Bionics LLC of Purcellville, VA creates the brain music. The brain music is then converted into musical compositions. The music is recorded from the listener’s own brain, triggering a natural response to the music that may help sharpen reflexes during emergencies, and could be used to reduce stress afterwards among emergency responders.


"Strain comes with an emergency response job, so we are interested in finding ways to help these workers remain at the top of their game when working and get quality rest when they go off a shift," explains Burns. The music has been clinically shown to either improve alertness or reduce stress and calm. Two separate recordings are used to make the brain music.

Once brain waves become music, the emergency responders are given a set listening schedule, depending on needs and work schedule. Brain music can be used to boost energy, increase productivity, or reduce stress, depending on the amplitude and duration of musical sounds.

Robert Burns says most of the brain music is performed with a single instrument – usually the piano. Each track is two to six minutes. The results can mimic Chopin or Mozart, depending on whether the desired effect of brain music is readiness or relaxation.

The Readiness Optimization Program is an all inclusive wellness program, designed to help first responders improve their lives through better sleep and healthy eating. Brain music tests will start with a select group of firefighters.