The parents and the teachers who need to communicate questions or requests several times in a row often think that the children have hearing problems or they disrespect the adult. Similar conclusions are drawn when the children areunable to react to complex orders or they work slower than their peers. Such children are often labelled as "naughty", which is not true. The prpblem above is illustrated in the text below.
Learning and communicating are processes that can seem easy as they are natural for most of us. But for one in ten people, it's a daily battle. The ability to properly process sensory information is compromised. It is said in this case, that listening is disrupted.
In the processing of information, the ear plays a fundamental role since it is the main gateway to our brain. It picks up the surrounding sounds and those of our own voice, converts them into electrical stimuli, and transmits them to the brain which analyzes them. More surprisingly, it also captures our movements and is heavily involved in coordination, balance and rhythm. It therefore has a vital function in daily life, whether through talk, to argue, to follow instructions, read, learn, memorize or simply to move.
When communication between the ear and the brain is blurred, our ability to interact with the outside world is compromised. The result is often a loss of self-confidence that will enhance in turn the difficulties of communication and learning.
The Tomatis® Method is an approach complementary to a therapeutic, pedagogical or medical accompaniment. During the first meeting you will be given an individualized assessment adapted specifically to your problem, followed by an interview and data analysis.
Tomatis Listening Test
Tomatis Method therapy consists in the intensive neurosensory stimulation.
Our Tomatis® professional will create an exclusive program tailored to your needs. During your passive listening sessions, you will use Tomatis devices.
The duration, the rhythm and the number of sessions are determined by the Tomatis® professional. In general, the program includes sessions of up to 2 hours which are conducted over a time-frame of at least 3 or 4, 10-13-day periods.
Between each period, you take a break of several weeks. These pauses are called "integration phases". They will be followed by tests and intermediate interviews before resuming a new listening session.
Qualified professionals may also offer active listening sessions for you. These sessions include reading aloud or verbal repetition, during which your voice is instantly modified and retransmitted within the specific parameters of the Tomatis® effect. Directly and in real-time, you hear your voice corrected, and as a result your voice is unconsciously modified. This exercise is not mandatory but strongly recommended when possible, and is proposed after an initial program of passive listening.
Active listening sessions are not systematic and depend on your profile and issues.
Exit assessment and summary
Once the listening sessions are finished, you are given an exit assessment, which allows us to measure your progress and to determine if further sessions are recommended. The results obtained with the Tomatis® Method are long-lasting, even permanent, and consequently it is often not necessary to extend the sessions beyond the initial course (though sometimes, for certain problems, extending the program may be advised).
Listening programme - neurosensory stimulation
We have to remember that listening does not equal hearing. Listening is the ability to use our senses consciously in order to learn and communicate. Thus listening is a high level cognitive function, which is closely related to the emotions management.
One can listen well, but they can hear poorly.
Tomatis Method stimulates the brain.
Listen well and change your life!
Dr Tomatis discovered the ears play a vital role in a range of functions – beyond simply helping us to hear – including:
- Stress and anxiety
- Motor skills
- Emotion regulation
This led him to develop a non-invasive auditory therapy technique to stimulate and enhance the function of the ears which, in many cases, led to improvement of these related functions.
How the Tomatis® Method works
Using specialised auditory equipment known as the Electronic Ear, electronically modified music and speech is played at specific frequencies to stimulate certain parts of the ear.
As these areas respond to the stimulation, so too do the corresponding areas in the brain and nervous system. In turn, this can lead to an improvement in auditory, visual and motor functions which had not previously been receiving the correct level of stimulation and signals from the brain.
The treatment typically consists of 2-3 x 15 day phases with a 4-6 week break between, but will largely depend on the nature of the problem and how the patient responds. Some people can see significant improvement in less than a week.
What might the Tomatis® Method help with?
A range of learning difficulties can be connected to auditory function disorders. Understanding how the ear can affect language skills, reading ability, speech and motor skills, it’s not surprising that following treatment many patients have reported:
- Improved focus
- Enhanced reading/comprehension skills
- Reduced stress/anxiety levels
- Less “brain fog”
- Increased self-awareness
- Improved memory and attention
The Tomatis® Method has also been found to provide benefits in a number of auditory and learning disorders, including:
- Speech problems
- Auditory Processing Disorder
- Dyslexia, Learning Difficulties
- Attention, Memory
Our facility in Warsaw is purpose-built to meet the unique needs of our clients, their siblings and families as we ‘help children overcome challenges in movement, play, speech, language, learning and behaviour’, whilst also meeting their needs for safety, cleanliness and comfort.
SENSORIUM facilities provide a professional environment in which our team of highly-trained practitioners can excel at what they do best – helping children develop their skills and achieve their optimum potential.
The overriding focus of our facilities is to offer an environment that is physically and emotionally safe. Our therapeutic environment provides a range of opportunities for sensory input while promoting physical development, encouraging social relationships and enhancing independence and self-confidence.
Areas of application
Attention is the ability to select and maintain in consciousness an external event or thought. It corresponds to a general state of arousal and alertness that enables the nervous system to be receptive to any form of information reaching it. Attention difficulties will concern children or adults who cannot concentrate for long enough periods of work to be done, even if it requires little intellectual effort and is routine or familiar (eg, revision work or 'copy).
A particular modality of attention is the ability to be able to divide one’s attention between multiple sources of information or tasks. This attentional modality is very expensive cognitively. When it fails, it can be a source of difficulty and considerable suffering for the child in a school situation.
In addition to its general action of cerebral stimulation (known as cortical arousal), the Tomatis® Method can have a very positive effect on selective attention. Indeed, the Tomatis® Method relies on the electronic Gating® system that causes a sound contrast, the effect of which constantly and naturally surprises the brain.
The goal is to help the brain develop automatic change detection mechanisms. Once these mechanisms are assimilated, the individual can more easily select relevant information and decide to reject or discriminate side events.
For this reason, the Tomatis® Method is a complementary approach to support children and adults with attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD / ADHD).
Learning is all the mechanisms by which we acquire automation or knowledge. It is the ability to change consistently and persistently one’s behavior in response to information or an external event. Learning depends on the ability of an individual to change his behavior based on experience. There are many learning methods, such as learning by reward, by failure, by imitation, by repetition, by creativity ... Whatever the method, learning involves the brain's ability to constantly reorganize the neural network to incorporate new behavior and to facilitate its implementation. We speak of "brain plasticity." Thus, due to brain plasticity, when the same event repeats, behavior in response is faster, more accurate and more intuitive.
With sound contrasts arranged to surprise the brain naturally, the Tomatis® Method acts on this brain plasticity. Indeed, it helps the brain develop detection mechanisms and analysis of change. Thus, the Tomatis® Method is a pedagogy that aims to train the individual to pay particular attention to external and new events. It facilitates the integration of new information and allows the student to improve his general and academic skills. This is why the Tomatis® Method is currently offered in hundreds of public and private schools in addition to a traditional education.
During his schooling, the child learns primarily from mistakes. While it is normal and necessary to make mistakes to grow, it is the persistence of certain targeted and systematic errors that should lead to talk about learning disabilities, mostly grouped under the heading of 'DYS'.
These learning problems are not related with intelligence but characterized by a difficulty for the child to properly operate the neural network or certain brain areas. The purpose of the Tomatis® Method is to enable the child to establish compensatory circuits. In other words, it is not possible to cure a learning disability, but it is possible to bypass or compensate it, allowing the brain to exploit other neural networks. For example, for learning disabilities linked to language, the Tomatis® Method facilitates the decoding and analysis of sound and can be an invaluable support in cases of dyslexia and in addition to speech therapy.
The accuracy with which we perceive and analyze a sound, affects our faculties to reproduce it. A quality voice transmission also requires good self-listening, that is to say, it requires the ability to listen to our own voice to measure its accuracy, quality and intensity.
The sound of our voice is mainly transmitted to the ear by the vibration of the bones of our heads: this is the “bone conduction”. It is opposed to the “air conduction”, that is to say the sound that comes from outside. This sound is analyzed by the brain which in turn directs an adjustment of the vocal gesture. So there is a back and forth between our ears, our brains and our voice. This is the same principle of natural auditory feedback loop. When this loop is disrupted, usually for emotional or cognitive reasons, our listening and ultimately our voice are thereby compromised. This failure can impact the rhythm, tone, color or intensity of this voice.
This can result in a lack of desire to communicate, difficulty speaking, lack of fluency, lack of accuracy and precision, lack or imbalance of the stamp producing too low voices, too acute or nasal, a lack of expressiveness of the voice or the loss of control of intensity.
By actively working on the auditory feedback loop by air and bone conduction, the Tomatis® Method proposes to restore the link that connects the brain, ear and voice.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized among other things by difficulty interacting with the outside world and in particular by an abnormality in social communication. A thesis which refers to this day believes that mirror neurons would not be able to function properly. These neurons are distributed diffusely in the brain. They have a key role because they activate the brain areas involved in movement and language even though the subject is passive and observer. In fact, they are essential in understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others.
These neurons allow us to project a movement, predict a sensation and to feel empathy. In other words, they help us on the one hand to put ourselves in the place of another and to project our action on the other hand. They therefore play an essential role in our social and daily interactions, be it as simple as "smiling at someone" to someone, to feel the feelings of others or to understand his action.
The Tomatis® Method is a drive to the prediction system. In the passive phase, through music treated with special contrasts, the brain attempts to decipher the effects of changes. In the active phase, the subject provides a tone that is automatically corrected by the device. In response, it naturally adjusts the sound of his own voice to match what he perceives. For this purpose, the mirror neuron of the spoken language area are directly requested. In this way, the Tomatis® Method can help people whose disorders are characterized by delays and alterations in cognitive development, communication and social interaction like autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and behaviors sometimes associated with it: Asperger syndrome, sensory processing disorder, or Down syndrome.
The Tomatis® Method is a professional assistance tool in supporting these disorders but not in any exclusive way.
If we perceive the importance of moving to maintain our body, we do not always realize that it is also important to maintain the brain. This is by stimulating the brain by sending sensory messages that the brain energizes and relaxes us. As the ear is the most important passageway of sensory messages from the human body, one can easily understand its role. This stimulation may be impaired when the brain triggers a protective mechanism. This mechanism can occur after a traumatic time event called "emotional shock". The brain also tends to progressively protect itself when the external environmental assaults. This may be the case of those facing a reorganization of the pace of life, increased responsibilities, disorientation, social pressure.
The Tomatis® Method acts on the limbic system (middle part of the brain) to which the hearing system is connected. This part is, among others, responsible for mechanisms of emotion, memory and learning. Furthermore, the body inner ear called cochlea acts as cortical load. Thus, by its action on the limbic system and prefrontal cortex, the Tomatis® Method will intervene in the regulation of emotion disorders related to depression and anxiety. It will also have an effective direct action on the regulation of stress.
Motor skills and coordination
The ear is not "only" the most powerful sensory organ of the human body. It is also a driving member. Indeed, in the inner part of the ear sits a body called "vestibule." The latter informs the brain of the slightest movement of the body and receives instructions. It is heavily involved in our motor and our coordination. Therefore it acts as an active relay of sensory information and has a direct influence (with other body parts) on motor skills, laterality, regulation of muscle tone and verticality.
Difficulties in the field of motor skills and coordination can be linked to failures of our vestibular system and lead to delays in the procurement and execution of gestures we learn growing up: walking, running, jumping, the beat with our foot or finger, for example. They can also take the form of dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, verticality ...
By promoting the transmission of deep and rhythmic sounds, the Tomatis® Method acts directly on the vestibule and has a positive effect on motor function, regulation of muscle tone and verticality. Moreover, intervening naturally on auditory laterality, the Tomatis® Method will help improve the coordination of left and right movements.
Tomatis and foreign languages
By affecting the relationship between the ear, voice and brain, the Tomatis® Method is also useful for helping people with delayed language acquisition. Indeed, verbal language is determined by a complex chain of articulated sounds and arranged in a particular rhythm. This rhythm is based on the height and duration of the transmitted frequencies and the intensity range of each sound. The rhythm of a language is marked mainly by the tonic accents that are found on the attacks of words and long vowels. The word is our ability to consciously manage these sounds. It's called "phonological awareness". A lack of phonological awareness is a difficulty in perceiving and thus manipulate the sounds of language.
By instantly treating the voice of the subject and transmitting it by air and bone conduction, the Tomatis® Method promotes the perception of the fundamental sounds of language and can help children with language disorders in addition to professional support.
Helping the brain to develop mechanisms of change
Have you ever tried to get someone’s attention by clicking your fingers? You use the element of surprise to capture attention. Indeed, the brain is very sensitive to changes that it cannot predict.
Attention is the capacity to select and maintain awareness of an exterior event or a thought. It corresponds to the general waking state and to vigilance, which allows the nervous system to be receptive to any form of incoming information. Attention disorders affect both children and adults and involve an inability to focus and sustain attention. A specific modality of attention is the capacity of dividing one’s attention between several sources of stimulation. An attention deficiency impacts many cognitive functions and is not only very costly in a cognitive sense, but is also a source of difficulty and even considerable suffering for a child in a school setting or any learning environment.
The Tomatis® procedure is based on the ‘Electronic Gating®' that brings about a perceptual sound contrast meant to constantly surprise the brain so that it stays alert and attentive. The goal is to help the brain develop automatic mechanisms for detecting changes, which will consequently reinforce selective attention.
Stimulating the ear to ensure cortical energizing
Over 80% of sensory stimulation comes from your ear. Whether you’re awake or asleep, your ear is constantly bombarding your brain with stimuli. From the fourth month of pregnancy, the fetus ear is the first fully functional organ.
The human ear called the Cochlea is responsible for “cortical energizing”. The ear needs to be stimulated to energize the brain and the body. Sound is necessary for our personal fulfillment. The richer the music is in high frequency harmonics, the more efficient is its effect. Sounds that are rich in high frequency harmonics stimulate a vast neural network, called the “reticular formation”, which controls the overall activity level of the brain.
That’s why we mainly use Mozart violin concertos, with well-known beneficial effects.
Activating the Auditory Feedback loop
Have you ever noticed how your voice can change when you are overcome by emotion? In such situations, you need a few seconds to restore your normal voice. This is because the auditory feedback loop is disrupted, which means that your brain is not able to correctly analyze the sounds of your voice. In fact, the fundamental principle of the Tomatis® Method is that any influence on the mechanisms of reception and analysis of an acoustic message will affect the way in which this message is reproduced. To function properly, this audio-vocal loop draws on the abilities of auditory discrimination, phonological awareness and integration of rhythm that each person activates effortlessly. These skills are natural to human function and go far beyond speech. They are necessary for all learning processes.
The Tomatis® Method greatly impacts the auditory feedback loop. During active sessions, you are listening to your own voice, which is modulated through the “Electronic Gating”. The gating is activated based on your voice intensity and frequency to focus on high frequencies. These frequencies are very important for language acquisition. This effect challenges your brain, which needs to adapt to this alternative modulation. As a result, you are better able to integrate the patterns and rhythm of your own voice.
Motor skills & balance
Optimizing the vestibular system’s potential
The ear not only receives sound but also determines your balance, rhythm and coordination. Try covering an ear while walking and you will see that you suffer significant loss of balance.
Balance depends on the vestibule, the part of the inner ear that informs the brain of the slightest body movement. The ear is therefore involved in controlling posture and maintaining balance. Through its action on the vestibule, the Tomatis Method allows the body to regain verticality by repositioning the skeleton. Indeed, under the sustained effect of listening sessions, the consistency of the messages sent to the brain via the vestibule of both the right and left ears is synchronized. As a result, motor responses are noticeably less uncoordinated, and become more fluid and better organized. This is why the Tomatis® Method has beneficial effects on motor disorders. Moreover, the vestibule plays a fundamental role in integrating the rhythms of both music and language due to its intricate network of connections to the brain.