Exploring the Use of Octaphonic Sound for Reducing Treatment-Related Distress in Cancer Therapy

Principal Investigator: Charles S. Cleeland, Ph.D.

This protocol is testing the use of a special sound system to reduce stress patients may experience during cancer treatments. The octaphonic sound system, under development by Yamaha Corporation, presents a realistic three-dimensional sound environment. It is reasonable to assume, depending on the audio material, that this system may provide distraction, relaxation or both during cancer treatments and therefore reduce distress. This assumption is being tested in a clinical trial where distress can be rated by patients before and after receiving their treatments in the octophonic environment versus in the regular treatment setting. The second stage of the study will compare the octophonic environment to conventional systems, such as speakers or headphones.

Specific Goals

  • To determine if patients report a decrease in the amount of distress during treatments while using the sound system (Complete)
  • If patients demonstrate less distress using this system, to determine if the octaphonic system is superior to more conventional sound delivery systems, such as speakers or headphones (Complete)


Patients from the Ambulatory Treatment Center and Radiation Oncology who are scheduled to have chemotherapy or radiation therapy will be recruited for the study.

Phase 1 Study

Radiotherapy patients scheduled for simulation will be randomized through the PDMS system to either the treatment group (octaphonic sound system) or control group (treatment as usual). Chemotherapy patients will be randomized to receive either a visit with the sound intervention followed by treatment as usual visit, or a treatment as usual visit followed by a visit with the sound intervention.

If data analysis shows that the octaphonic sound system is effective in reducing stress, phase 2 of the study will be conducted.

Phase 2 Study

Patients will be randomized to either Intervention 1 (sound relaxation intervention using headphones) or Intervention 2 (octaphonic sound system). Patients will complete the same study instruments as in part 1.


The outcome measures include the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS).

For more information

Contact Margaret Harle, B.S.N., O.C.N., at mharle@mdanderson.org