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|The Tomatis Method® is the most comprehensive technology of all existing auditory stimulation programs. Developed by the French ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Alfred Tomatis who pioneered psychoacoustics over 50 years ago. The Tomatis Method® uses electronically modified music to re-educate the listening system, by stimulating and improving the way in which we process auditory information and thus the way that we listen and communicate.
Many people experience listening disabilities and do not realize it. Difficulties in processing sound to its full potential can affect brain functioning, causing problems in attention and behavior, communication skills, co-ordination, energy levels, learning abilities and sensory integration. People can be trained to improve or enhance their ability to process sound, and to overcome weaknesses or further develop listening related skills. Listening to the program literally exercises and tones tiny muscles in the ear and helps to build stronger multi-sensory pathways in the brain, improving its ability to process sound and enhance communication and cognitive abilities.
|The Tomatis Method assists in enhancing the ability to differentiate between certain frequencies. This is a pre-requisite for language development and for the processing of all auditory information reaching the brain. The training is provided using a mini computer and delivered through advanced electronic and audio circuitry known as the Electronic Ear or Listening Trainer. Education with the Electronic Ear requires a great variety of very specific sonic stimuli, and which envelop all the phases of listening from the most archaic in a liquid medium (in utero) to the most evolved of adulthood. The goal of the Tomatis Method is to maximize the capacity for communication that everyone has, by giving or restoring to the individual his or her full potential as a listener.
LISTENING THROUGH BONE CONDUCTED SOUND
If you think about it, you will know that we hear with more than just our ears. The bones of our body and our skin tissue are also sensitive to sound. When we hear a gunshot, a loud screech or a door slamming, our bodies shudder instinctively. The sounds picked up by our bones are transmitted directly to our inner-ear without any filter to dampen their intensity. They arrive in the brain without any warning signals and therefore produce a reflex reaction. On the other hand, sounds picked up by our ears are dampened to a comfortable intensity. Furthermore, the body takes in sounds and forewarns the brain that the sounds are coming milliseconds before the sounds actually reach our ears.
The Tomatis Method trains the ears to become the main entrance to sounds, training the bone conduction to be the secondary entrance of auditory information. This training is achieved by listening to gated music through a set of special headphones that are equipped with a vibrator designed to deliver sound to the bone (head). Through this vibrator, bone receives the stimulus at the same time as you listen with your ears. Over time, by listening to sounds delivered at a different timing between the bone and ears, de-sensitization of bone conducted sound occurs. This reduces stress on the brain due to the elimination of confusing inputs and gives you the ability to pay attention and learn more effectively.
THE TOMATIS PROGRAM INCORPORATES TWO PHASES
During the Passive Phase, the individual listens to electronically modified Mozart music and Gregorian chant. Young children also listen to their mother’s voice. During the Active Phase, the individual listens to and recites hundreds of words and phrases, which are re-directed back to the individual’s own auditory system to train the brain to control the voice and phonation.
Progress in treatment is traced by the use of a Listening Test unique to the Tomatis Method. This auditory perception test focuses on an individual’s initial receptivity to different sounds as well as their ability to accurately distinguish between these pure tone sounds. Both air and bone conduction threshold are obtained. Resulting profiles are interpreted within guidelines, which take developmental and psycho physiological considerations into account.
APPLICATIONS FOR CHILDREN & TEENAGERS
Internationally, the Tomatis Method is best known to assist in alleviating the severity of behaviors contributing to the diagnosis of autism. Positive changes that have been documented within this disorder include: adaptation to change, listening response, non-verbal communication, emotional response and activity level.
Auditory Processing Difficulties
The Tomatis Method has shown to substantially improve auditory processing difficulties, by ameliorating auditory sequential memory difficulties, the ability to distinguish speech against a variety of background noises, as well as assisting in the acquisition of phonemic discrimination and phonological awareness.
Poor listening makes poor learning. Just as one can look without seeing, one can also hear without listening. Listening requires the desire to focus on sounds. Tomatis identified this lack of desire to focus as one of the major causes of learning difficulties. The Tomatis Method provides the basis for retraining the auditory system to distinguish between the mixtures of high and low frequencies that exist in nature and speech. Often children with learning difficulties are unable to distinguish between sounds like s and z, p and b and so on. The Tomatis Method listening program retrains the auditory system and brain to process sound more effectively and optimally, and by this, increase the ability and skill of listening which is the foundation of language, reading and writing.
APPLICATIONS FOR ADULTS
PROGRAM DELIVERY AND DURATION
After initial evaluation in our office, we create an individualized program. Training is done at home in 3 sessions, 8-15 days each for 2 hours a day over the course of 3-4 months. Even though much of the listening can be done while asleep, part of the training requires use of a microphone.