The Tomatis method is a sensory stimulation approach. To understand how it works, look at the interactive diagram below followed by some explanatory information.
The Tomatis Method is a technique of sound sensory stimulation. Sound is transmitted on two pathways, the first by bone conduction caused by a vibration in the upper part of the cranium, and the second by aerial conduction passing through the ear’s auricle.
The sounds used in the devices have been preliminary treated with the Tomatis effect in the Tomatis laboratory, and thus stimulate the entire inner ear, including the parts that positively affect both auditory and motor functions.
The sound propagates first in the tympan, and then by bone conduction, triggering a reflex that contracts and relaxes the two muscles known as the stirrup and hammer muscles. This effect is obtained by means of a perceptual sound contrast (a two-fold alternation of timbre and intensity) intended to ‘surprise’ the ear.
As an effect of the vibration caused by the sounds, these muscles will in turn stimulate the parts of the inner ear known as the cochlea and the vestibule. The cochlea is lined with tiny cells called hair cells, whose purpose is to convert this vibration into electrical stimuli. These stimuli will then feed a vast neural network known as the reticular formation, which controls the overall level of cerebral activity. In other words, the cochlea and vestibule energise the brain. We say that it has a function of ‘cortical charging’. Moreover, the vestibule informs the brain of the tiniest bodily movements and therefore has an effect on rhythm and balance. The coherence of the message that it transmits is thus fundamental. The ear must therefore be effectively stimulated.
There is a great diversity of sounds in all the spoken languages (around 5000): all around the world there are about 650 consonant sounds and 180 vowel sounds. However, each language uses in average 40 basic sounds, called phonemes. The phoneme is the similar sound unity which enables to create a difference of meaning between two words. Thus, a language is at first a music, that is to say a specific set of rhythms and sounds. These are the substratum on top of which all the other acquisition (lexical, syntactic, semantics) will come.
Solisten Language Integration is a very easy to use device where the recorded music and readings are pre-programed with the Tomatis Effect in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and German. For each language, two 30-hour program are available. The first program is design for children and includes some children songs, the second is designed for adults with some more specific texts. Solisten Language Integration enables to make passive training sessions to ease the perception of a foreign language.
TALKS enable students to do active training sessions. Thanks to a specific device with an integrated microphone the voice is process in live with the Tomatis Effect. The student only has to repeat words to work actively the pronunciation. By modifying the perception by the ear and the brain of his/her own voice, the student unconsciously adjusts her/his speech to the pattern of the foreign language. These devices will allow you to perform active work in the comfort of your home or at the office.
You will be given a psychopedagogical assessment adapted specifically to your specific need followed by an interview, in order to approach your particular difficulty or disorder.
Afterwards, a listening test will be administered with a device known as the TLTS. This test helps us to identify your listening potential and any possible dysfunctions.
Using the specially designed device, you listen to a program personalized for you. You can listen to these programs in our centre or in the comfort of your own home, using the Solisten device.
Because the programs stimulate your brain through the ear, the sessions have to be repeated over a period of time, alternating with evenly-spaced intervals of rest (called ‘integration periods’) so that the progress will be long-lasting, even permanent. The number and length of the sessions depends on the issue. Training sessions can be conducted at centre or at home, in three sessions, 8-15 days, each for two hours per day over the course of some months.
For younger children we have designed a special playroom, equipped with swings, toys, puppets, drawing books, in order to provide them a wider multi-sensory stimulation which, along with the personalized sound stimulation program, creates a synergistic effect.
Parents are kindly invited to spend the session time in the wellness room area, enjoying a massage relaxation session in a quiet and restful atmosphere.
Active listening sessions might be needed too. 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 systematic but strongly recommended when possible, and is proposed only after an initial program of passive listening.
After the course of listening sessions is finished, you will be 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 although sometimes, for certain problematics, extending the program may be advised.
Music – Certain classical music has specific structure, producing sound waves in organized patterns. Within these patterns are vital elements including time, frequency and volume. When listening to music, the ear is receiving musical sound waves. The chosen musical works are rich in harmonics (frequency-relative richness), which is necessary to make the electronic gating work. The musical works used are generally Mozart’s concertos for the violin, specially-treated with the Tomatis effect. Electronic gating creates the Tomatis effect.
Certain classical music has specific structure, producing sound waves in organised patterns. Within these patterns are vital elements including time, frequency and volume. When listening to music, the ear is receiving musical sound waves. The chosen musical works are rich in harmonics (frequency-relative richness), which is necessary to make the electronic gating work. The musical works used are generally Mozart’s concertos for the violin, specially-treated with the Tomatis effect.
The Tomatis devices are designed to establish a unique sound perception contrast. This effect causes the contraction and relaxation of the inner ear muscles. This back-and-forth movement between tension and relaxation in the muscle of the ear is rendered possible due to the electronic gate, a device capable of alternating between two states of perception for the same auditory message. This activity is much like a fitness exercise for the ear, which, due to repeated activity and to the progressive mobilisation of the ear, optimises the transmission of the sensory sound message to the brain.
Stress reduction and social engagement: The autonomic and central nervous system are simultaneously engaged with the music. It can support stress reduction and regulation of the ‘fight or flight’ response to help achieve a state of calm and relaxed/alertness, which is essential for social engagement.
Vestibular processing: The ear is not only responsible for hearing, but also for maintaining balance, posture, equilibrium, control of muscle movement and body awareness; listening with bone conduction helps to improve internal and external sensory awareness, supporting a host of brain functions. Scientific studies have shown the vestibular system can be directly stimulated by bone-conducted sound.
We hear ourselves through bone conduction. If you have ever heard a recording of your own voice, that becomes very clear. When you speak, you hear yourself through bone conduction, and you hear others through air conduction. The listening program with combined bone and air conduction offers internal and external sound stimulation to help promote awareness and support the development of refined receptive and expressive communication.
Programming of the devices, choice of musical works, filtering, auditory laterality, speed of the gating and design of the listening sessions are determined by the trained professional depending on the subject’s issues or difficulties. The program for each person is individualized.
The Tomatis Method works on an emotional level by exercising the ear. It has been proven that emotional blockages prevent people from proper listening. They can become stuck emotionally at a young age, for instance the age at which they suffered the first trauma, preventing personal growth and normal emotional development. The benefits of the Tomatis program are that it relieves stress, depression and related disorders. People become more focused, self-aware and optimistic. As a result they become more confident and anxiety disappears. Well-tuned listening is therefore an essential component for promoting personal growth.
Knowing that 90% of our daily energy comes through the ear and that music is patterned energy, the use of sound and music enhances life energy and wellness.
Research has shown that music has a direct effect on people’s lives. Using this knowledge, music and sound can become a very powerful tool for healing – on the mind, body and spirit.
Dr Tomatis points out that high frequency sounds found in classical music stimulate the brain, whereas low frequency sounds found in rock music can drain energy away. The cortex requires enormous amounts of stimulation to remain dynamic, to think and to operate with vitality. The high frequency music of Mozart, particularly when filtered through the Electronic Ear, is very energising, while Gregorian Chant actually slows down the heartbeat and promotes deep relaxation. Both types of music are used in the Tomatis Listening Program to help reach one’s intellectual and physical potential. By ‘charging’ the cortex and reducing tension, the Tomatis Method not only maximises one’s capabilities, but also encourages a more balanced life which definitely increases spontaneity and creativity.
There is an wide array of learning difficulties, and many children (4-6%) suffer from them. They are not due to a lack of intelligence, to unfavourable socioeconomic circumstances, or to a psychoaffective problem. It has been proven that these difficulties have a neurobiological root and arise from the fact that certain areas of the brain did not develop correctly during the prenatal period. These learning difficulties include dyslexia (having do to with reading), dysgraphia (having to do with the relation of sounds to written letters), and dyspraxia (the use and coordination of learned gestures). Also included among these difficulties are dysphasia (deficiency in the generation of speech and sometimes also in its comprehension) and dyscalculia (regarding mathematical functions and numbers).
The Tomatis Method operates on the plasticity of the neural circuits involved in the decoding and analysis of sounds, as well as on those involved in motor ability, balance, and coordination. Therefore, the Tomatis Method can help children develop compensatory strategies to deal with and manage their learning difficulties and language disorders.
The Tomatis Method does not eliminate these problems altogether, but helps the person better manage them and thus effectively overcome them.
Adults, program your brain and senior citizens, keep it fit! The most important thing to be doing as we age is to keep stimulating brain cells. Staying engaged in mental brain activities like reading, learning and communicating with others keeps the brain cells alive and strong. I believe people need to be able to maintain community and connections and have opportunities to interact. Healty relationships contribute to building a brain that continues to grow.
In a peaceful wellness area created especially for adults, along with the sound stimulation program people can enjoy a massage chair relaxation session or other activities that boost the effect of listening sessions.
What does the baby hear in the womb? Dr. Alfred Tomatis was very interested in this area of development. “The ear first appears in the third week of gestation and it becomes functional by the 16th week. The fetus begins active listening by the 24th week.”
We offer a Tomatis Pregnancy Program for mothers-to-be. Attend our centre for the full Tomatis method or use the Solisten home program in the comfort of your own home. The practitioner will discuss the preferred activities during listening with each individual client. This program is an important complement for every prospective mother, but especially for parents who have experienced difficult births before or who have an older sibling with special needs. We are very enthusiastic about having this program available for our mothers at our centre. This can only enhance their newborn’s life since sounds and music have such a profound effect on the life of the child in the womb.