The Impact of Listening to Music During a High-Intensity Exercise Endurance Test in People With COPD

Annemarie L. Lee, Thomas Dolmage, Matthew Rhim, Roger S. Goldstein, Dina Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In people with COPD, dyspnea is the primary symptom limiting exercise tolerance. One approach to reducing dyspnea during exercise is through music listening. A constant speed endurance test reflects a high-intensity aerobic exercise training session, but whether listening to music affects endurance time is unknown. This study aimed to determine the effects of listening to music during a constant speed endurance test in COPD. Methods: Participants with COPD completed two endurance walk tests, one with and one without listening to self-selected music throughout the test. The primary outcome was the difference in endurance time between the two conditions. Heart rate, percutaneous oxygen saturation, dyspnea, and rate of perceived exertion were measured before and after each test. Results: Nineteen participants (mean [SD]: age, 71 [8] years; FEV1, 47 [19] % predicted) completed the study. Endurance time was greater (1.10 [95% CI, 0.41-1.78] min) while listening to music (7.0 [3.1] min) than without (5.9 [2.6] min), and reduced end-test dyspnea (1.0 [95% CI, –2.80 to –1.80] units) (with music, 4.6 [1.7] units; vs without music, 5.6 [1.4] units, respectively). There was not a significant difference in heart rate, percutaneous oxygen saturation, or leg fatigue. There were no adverse events under either condition. Conclusions: In COPD, dyspnea was less while listening to music and was accompanied by an increased tolerance of high-intensity exercise demonstrated by greater endurance time. Practically, the effect was modest but may represent an aid for exercise training of these patients. Trial Registry: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; No. ACTRN12617001217392

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1141
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • exercise testing
  • pulmonary rehabilitation

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