The following information has been obtained from the Tomatis.com website
The ear is the most powerful sensory integrator of the human body. More than 80% of the stimulation our brain receives comes from our ear. On one hand it has a major role in the cerebral stimulation of the brain, and on the other hand it has a positive action on the cerebral plasticity of the brain. This explains how it interacts in many fields of application. The Tomatis® Method is a complementary tool to most therapeutic or pedagogical support. It makes it possible to multiply the results obtained, and thus significantly reduce the duration of a traditional therapeutic or medical plan. It can be used at any age (children, adults or seniors) and it can be used for one’s personal development to help fight most difficulties and disorders.
Area’s 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.
Voice and language
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was in accompanying singers that Alfred Tomatis has established that a listening distrust was accompanied by a voice failure. Specifically, he has determined that a voice transmission quality does not only require a good listen to the audio message coming from the outside, but also good self-listening, that is to say the ability to use our own voice as the sound source to analyze and control its accuracy, intensity and quality.
Auto listening can be achieved provided that the perceived sound vibration is correctly regulated by bone conduction which is the sound transmission path through every bone in the body and in particular by the skull. This bone regulation is itself subject to the smooth functioning of two muscles in the middle ear, and whose role is to control and absorb all the vibrations transmitted to the inner ear. Voice audio rehabilitation by electronic ear is specifically to the establishment of a quality control mechanism self. Thus, depending on the problem encountered with the voice, the action of this approach will be targeted on:
- Lack or loss of the desire to sing
- Lack of fluency
- Difficulty in speaking or singing easily, without feeling to push or strain on his voice
- The lack of expressiveness of voice, default modulation or intonation
- Lack or imbalance of the stamp producing too low voices, too bright or too nasal
- The loss of control of the intensity, either by default or by excess
- Lack of accuracy and precision
Each language is characterized by a specific rhythm that is necessary to integrate to speak properly. Thus during our childhood, our brain has learned to identify phonetic structures specific to our mother tongue. Conversely, we also learned to overlook the phonetic structures incompatible with our language. In fact, from an early age we learn to encode the pace of our language and thanks to the voice of the mother. This language code will quickly be an impediment to learning a foreign language to the extent that it is different sound patterns of the native language internalized in early childhood.
The Tomatis® Method allows anyone wishing to learn a foreign language, the ability to truly own the rhythm of the language. It is this rhythm that will allow the individual to more easily graft vocabulary, syntax and grammar. A study by seven universities in the framework of a European program proves a halving of the learning time through the Tomatis® Method.
Please note that the Tomatis® Method is an educational approach that cannot be considered as a medical treatment. In cases of serious difficulties, we suggest you use the Tomatis® Method as complementary support to a therapeutic or medical treatment.