A Silent Headphone Disco is an event where people dance to music listened to on wireless headphones. Rather than using a speaker system, music is broadcast via a radio transmitter with the signal being picked up by wireless headphone receivers worn by the participants. These events provide everyone with a new sensory experience as it creates a more intense and immersive experience. It has been shown to increase eye contact, the level of enjoyment and increase physical activity. The use of headphones minimises distraction, which is a common difficulty of individuals suffering from brain injury.

Research has also shown that music can bring back distant memories as well as help with managing anxiety. The aim of these events is to bring people into a happier space and continue making good memories.

Silent Memories www.silentmemories.co.uk are a UK based company providing silent discos for any occasion. As a company they have had particular experience providing discos to various care homes in the north of England. On Friday 28th September 2018, they provided a whole new experience for our service users at Kent House in Aylesbury. Kent House is a specialist residential centre providing continuing rehabilitation and specialist care and support for people with acquired brain injury (ABI). It forms part of the nationwide network of rehabilitation support services provided by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT). The whole team was involved in setting up our disco room with our Activities Coordinator even providing some self-crafted lighting to create the right atmosphere.

Service users dancing

Service users listening on their headphones

The DJ played hits from the 60/70/80s and also took requests. Here are some quotes from our residents:

"When are they coming again?”

“Music was really good!”

“I really enjoyed it, I love music”

“It was nice to have everyone together”

The event was a huge success and staff found that the atmosphere was lifted and everyone remained in good spirits throughout the rest of the day. When we asked for feedback all those who participated were keen for us to organise it again! 11 out of 19 residents were together enjoying a song and dance and others were able to listen from their rooms. Staff saw some extraordinary dancing and heard some singing never heard before! Overall it was a feel-good experience thoroughly enjoyed by the service users and staff!

Our service users who all have a brain injury suffer from similar memory and attention difficulties as those with dementia and with a new clinical team consisting of an Occupational therapist, Physiotherapist, Therapy assistant and Activities Coordinator we are keen to get every one of them engaged in an activity that is meaningful to them. A silent disco combined all of our passions to get service users, even in wheelchairs more active, creating a safe space to enjoy a song and dance and showcasing decorations made by them themselves.

By Melissa Kuik – Therapy Assistant, Kent House