The Brag Media
News October 10, 2023

Stephen Hunt Delivers TED Talk on Wellness, Dementia and the Healing Power of Music

Senior Journalist, B2B
Stephen Hunt Delivers TED Talk on Wellness, Dementia and the Healing Power of Music

Just sing. Sing loud, proud and make it part of your regular day-to-day.

Music is inside all of us, Stephen Hunt explained during a recent TED Talk. Letting it flow is a type of medicine that’s been hiding in plain sight, and it’s “far more powerful than most of us give us credit for.”

To use music to heal, it’s human nature and old as time. The mother’s tongue includes an array of songs to soothe, Hunt remarked in his TEDxSydney presentation, video for which is now posted to YouTube. The digeridoo is one of the oldest forms of music therapy. Examples can be found in every culture, everywhere, over millennia.

In a digital, ultra-competitive world, where outcomes so often outweigh the art, music has applications in therapy, Hunt pointed out, particularly in the lives of those living with dementia.

Songs have such a deep connection, our “musical memories are far less impacted than recall of names and faces,” he notes. And when we stimulate those memories with music, we “set off a chain reaction in the brain” that when studied in details looks like “Christmas lights going on.”

There is no known cure for a dementia diagnosis, but there is reprieve.

By hooking up patients with “Precision Music,” as Hunt coins it, those happy tunes that can stay with patients longer than other memories, can reduce anxiety and allow them to get more buzz out of life.

Hunt applies the theory to the real world.

The entrepreneur and sometimes-singer has experienced dementia in his own family, and sought to tackle it through Music Health, the Australia-based music wellness technology business which he co-founded in 2020.

Last year, Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, became the launch partner for Vera, designed by Music Health.

Through that “strategic, industry-first agreement,” announced from UMG’s international headquarters in London, the music giant licensed its entire catalogue for the app, to develop “personalised music stations” designed to “improve the lives” of folks living with dementia, a figure both companies estimate in the tens of millions.

Music Health was a finalist in the Health and Medtech category for the 2023 SXSW Innovation Awards, presented at the Austin Convention Center in March.

“Every sound we hear is triggering an emotional response in us,” he told guests at his Sydney presentation, “so it’s no wonder that music has the power to change the way we feel.”

When we sing, not only do we light up the brain, we also “release a flood of hormones to make us feel happy.”

Watch the full speech, and a touching performance by the St. Luke’s “Memory Lane Choir,” below.


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