Hospital radio offers alternative therapy

Forth Valley Royal Hospital offers sound therapy through bedside radio systems

Insomniacs and tinnitus sufferers can now tune into an alternative form of therapy while being treated at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The innovative ‘treatment’ is being delivered via bedside radios and features soothing sounds including rain, waves, birdsong and even snoring!

Programmes also include a soundscape of the hospital, featuring the noise of the mail and the pharmacy robots, patients exercising in the physiotherapy gym, and snippets from the neonatal ward, the renal department, and the laboratories.

The ‘ Bedside Radio’ series has been produced by NHS Forth Valley’s digital artist in residence, Mark Vernon, and the recording has taken place over the past year. The first programme is called ‘ The Tonic Garden’, which Vernon describes as a ‘sonic survey of soothing sounds’ designed to put even the most sleep-deprived patient into a slumber.

He said: “I have been trying to find out what sounds people find relaxing. Ironically sounds that actually annoy some people are pleasing to others. For example, one woman told me that her favourites were her husband snoring and a loud clock ticking, so I have included these.

“It is such a subjective thing, but I have tried to make it as varied as possible.”

Before creating the sounds, he spoke to hospital staff, Radio Royal volunteers, members of the public, and the District Association for Mental Health.

Also scheduled is a programme called ‘ A Day in the Life’ which has been recorded in conjunction with people who have experienced mental health difficulties. The main thrust will be radio poems and patients’ work is being brought to life through sound and music.

Each of the programmes is being played on a looped cycle with listeners able to drop in and out at any point. The series can also be listened to through an i-Player type service.

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