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Emergence delirium is a behavioural disturbance after general anaesthesia in children that can distress patients, parents, and primary caregivers. We hypothesised that listening to the mother's recorded voice can reduce ED compared with listening to a stranger's recorded voice.This prospective, double-blind, randomised study was conducted in 2- to 8-yr-old patients who had undergone general anaesthesia. Sixty-six patients were randomly assigned to listen to either the mother's voice (Group M, n=33) or a stranger's voice (Group S, n=33). The primary outcome was the initial paediatric assessment of emergence delirium (PAED) score on arrival at a postanaesthesia care unit (PACU). Other outcomes were the incidence of emergence delirium; Watcha, PAED, and pain scores; PACU stay time; durations between cessation of anaesthetics and bispectral index (BIS) levels of 60, 70, and 80; eye opening time; extubation time; and total consumption of analgesics during the PACU stay.The mother's voice reduced the initial PAED score compared with a stranger's voice [mean (standard deviation), 9.8 (2.5) vs 12.5 (4.1); P=0.002]. The incidence of emergence delirium during the PACU stay was higher in Group S than in Group M [60.6% vs 24.2%, odds ratio (95% confidence interval): 4.88 (1.7–13.9); P=0.006]. The BIS >60 time was shorter in Group M than in Group S (P=0.006).The mother's voice reduced emergence delirium scores and the incidence of emergence delirium in paediatric patients compared with a stranger's voice after general anaesthesia.NCT 02955680.