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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

-1- How long does the average Tomatis Listening Program take?

-2- Why is the Listening Program undertaken in an intensive manner?

-3- Why use filtered music?

-4- Why use the mother’s voice?

-5- Why have pauses between blocks of listening sessions?

-6- Where is The Tomatis Method® available?

-7- When did The Tomatis Method® originate?

-8- How are the results evaluated?

-9- What does a person do during the listening sessions?

-10- Will The Tomatis Method® help in the case of hearing loss?

-11- Can The Tomatis Method® be combined with other therapies?

-12- What is the relationship between The Tomatis Method® and the CDs that make reference to it?

-13- What is the difference between “air conduction” (or sound conduction through the air)
and “bone conduction” (or sound conduction through the bones)?


-14- Why is the mother’s presence indispensable for young children?

-15- Why is the father’s presence desirable?

-16- Are the gains made during a Tomatis program lasting?

-17- At what age does The Tomatis Method® produce the best results?

-18- Who uses The Tomatis Method® ?

-19- What are the most obvious results of The Tomatis Method® with respect to children?

-20- How soon do the results of The Tomatis Method® become noticeable?

-21- What is an Electronic Ear?

-22- Why use the music of Mozart?

-23- Why use Gregorian Chant?



Answers

-1- How long does the average Tomatis program take?
The length of a Tomatis program varies according to the difficulty of the problem to be addressed. The goal of the program is to enable the individual to progress as quickly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance. A typical program may consist of three training blocks or periods. Each block (or period) will consist of between 8 to 15 sessions (which are attended on a daily basis with 1 or 2 day breaks on week-ends. It is normal to have a greater number of sessions in the first block (or period). Each session lasts 2 hours. Each block (or period) is followed by a break of 4 to 6 weeks allowing the necessary space to experience, integrate and habituate to the new listening patterns.

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-2- Why are the listening sessions undertaken in an intensive manner?
In order for the brain’s mode of perception to change, it must receive information repeated frequently at a sustained rhythm during a restricted time period. This exercise, like any other, whether mental or physical in nature, brings about a true de-conditioning that allows the body to discover that it can operate differently, and that, henceforth, a choice is possible. Even though this rule of intensive listening sessions is valid for everyone, the effects may be somewhat different according to the nature of the problem to be addressed, the age of the individual, his or her motivation, the time available to him or her, etc… The norm is to do two hours of daily listening during an initial block of 15 days. Afterwards, the listening sessions --limited in any case because The Tomatis Method® discourages a state of dependency-- rarely continue for more than 8 days and are spaced over several weeks.

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-3- Why use filtered music?
Filtering of sound permits the brain to orient itself toward the acoustic analysis of specific zones; listening to sounds that are even more filtered corresponds to a pre-natal experience, which does not, however, mean that the foetus does not hear low frequency sounds. According to Dr. Tomatis, if the ear is functional so early in foetal development, it is because its role is to energize the developing nervous system. It was in order to take advantage of this primordial competence of the ear during the prenatal phase that Dr. Tomatis decided to use filtered sound, the latter relieving the ear of its function of sound discrimination. Moreover, given the physiology of the inner ear, high frequency sounds produce a much greater stimulation of the nervous system than do low frequency sounds; indeed, the cilia, or hair cells, that receive sonic stimulation are much more numerous in zones intended for the reception and analysis of high frequency sounds than in those designed to receive and analyse low frequency sounds.

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-4- Why use the mother’s voice?
The use of the mother’s voice, filtered in the high frequencies, permits us at the same time to relieve the ear of its function of sound discrimination, to recharge the nervous system by stimulating the zones that have the most cilia, or receptive hair cells, and to reawaken the individual’s acoustic memory of the prenatal period. This memory, whether it carries a positive or negative affective charge, was transmitted by the mother depending upon her psychological state during pregnancy, and was a very reassuring factor simply because it was constantly present. One can observe that, most of the time, the utilization of the filtered mother’s voice produces an effect that both soothes and liberates.

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-5- Why have pauses between blocks of listening sessions?
Just as the brain needs intensive and repeated stimulation in order for change to take place, it also needs periods of non-stimulation in order to structure and integrate the change. This principle holds true for all kinds of training, integration taking place during a phase of apparent passivity after the effort has terminated. It is, in fact, a phase of assimilation. Stimulation represents a disturbance of our organism; we must thus allow it resting time during which assimilation can take place. That is why the normal procedure consists of an initial block of 15 days of daily two-hour periods of auditory stimulation with the Electronic Ear, followed by other 8-day blocks, generally limited in number given that the goal of The Tomatis Method® is always to lead the individual as rapidly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance. The first two blocks of the program are spread over three to four weeks, then two to three months go by between the second and the third blocks, then six months between the third and, if needed, fourth block.

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-6- Where is The Tomatis Method® available?
The Tomatis Method® is available in Centres that belong to the official Tomatis network. This network includes more than 150 Centres spread throughout the world, including Dublin, Ireland, and is managed by the company known as Tomatis Developpement SA, which can provide a list of members of the network. Membership in the official network is the only guarantee that the Tomatis Listening Program (Tomatis Method) will be used appropriately because the professionals who are accepted for membership are required to have thorough initial and continuing training in the Method in addition to their own university education.

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-7- When did The Tomatis Method® originate?
The Tomatis Method® is based on research undertaken by Dr. Alfred Tomatis toward the end of the 1940s. This research resulted in lectures presented at the Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Science in Paris in 1957 and 1960 respectively and in the official presentation of the Electronic Ear at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, the Method went through several stages of development before reaching its present form, which was essentially established during the 1970s. Since then, this Method, which remains open to change, has incorporated evolving electronic and computer technology and has become more open to collaboration with other therapeutic or pedagogical approaches.

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-8- How are the results evaluated?
The client takes a listening test, followed by a discussion with a consultant, at the beginning of the program, during the course of the program (about every 15 hours on the average), and at the end of the program. The discussion allows the consultant to collect information and impressions from the client, or from the parents in the case of a child, and to explain what is happening according to the analysis of the listening test and the reported experiences of the client (or parents). The listening test can, in certain cases, be complemented by other batteries of tests; however, when used alone, it can provide precise and objective information concerning functions of the ear such as the analysis of sounds, auditory laterality, the localization of sound in space, and adaptability to the surrounding sonic environment.

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-9- What does a person do during the listening sessions?
Drawing, working puzzles, audio vocal exercises (repeating words and phrases) are some of the activities.

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-10- Will The Tomatis Method® help in the case of hearing loss?
The Tomatis Method® does not improve hearing in the case of an irreversible lesion; however, whatever the situation may be, it does foster optimal use of the individual’s listening potential, no matter how weak it may be.

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-11- Can The Tomatis Method® be combined with other therapies?
Yes, and in certain cases such as the following, this may prove to be advisable: it may be that an individual is already in therapy and his/her therapist, cognizant of The Tomatis Method® , is aware of the positive effect that listening sessions with the Electronic Ear can produce; it may be that a Tomatis consultant decides that there is no conflict with the client receiving support from another therapy and advises the client to wait until the effects of the listening sessions have been assimilated before beginning the other therapy; finally, it may happen that the Tomatis consultant spots a problem that should obviously be addressed by a different therapy, in which case, from the time that the problem is identified, he will advise the client to consult another therapist, whether the problem is spotted during the course of a listening program or before any training with the Electronic Ear has taken place. In fact, in such cases, The Tomatis Method® acts as a technique that facilitates the effectiveness of other therapies. This being the case, there is neither incompatibility nor competition with other therapies but rather support by effectively accelerating their progress. Numerous professionals are aware of this and choose to work either in conjunction with Tomatis specialists or to take the training necessary to be able to apply the method themselves and, thus, to increase the effectiveness of their own professional tools.

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-12- What is the relationship between The Tomatis Method® and the CDs that make reference to it?
Numerous references to The Tomatis Method® are made throughout the world, because its fame reassures the buyer. Unfortunately, the products that are sold often have only the remotest relationship with the work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis. The CDs that refer to Tomatis are often nothing more than compilations of musical works, more or less well put together, which are unable to produce the effects of The Tomatis Method® since the listener cannot benefit from the functioning of the Tomatis Effect Electronic Ear. The Electronic Ear has very specific operational features, including a gating system and sound conduction through both air and bone, which have an impact on listening attentiveness, on auditory laterality, on the localization of sound in space, on latency time, on sound discrimination and, finally, on the audio-vocal loop.

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-13- What is the difference between “air conduction” (or sound conduction through the air) and “bone conduction” (or sound conduction through the bones)?
These two terms, commonly used in Tomatis practice, refer to what is actually the same phenomenon: sound is transmitted to the inner ear for perception and analysis by the bony mass, and especially by the cranium or skull; however, the Electronic Ear, an indispensable tool in the implementation of The Tomatis Method® , permits us to differentiate bony transmission through the air by means of a headset with traditional earphones (called “air conduction”) from the direct bone transmission by means of a vibrator that sits on the top of the skull (called “bone conduction”). Within the framework of The Tomatis Method® , this distinction, even though it may be subsumed by the same observable fact, is essential. Indeed, the stimulation provided by the vibrator facilitates the overcoming of certain barriers (often psychological) to the perception and analysis of sounds while at the same time the interplay resulting from control settings of the Electronic Ear with respect to each type of conduction brings about remarkable effects on the functions of listening and language.

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-14- Why is the mother’s presence indispensable for young children?
The Tomatis Method® enables an individual to relive progressively the different stages of his or her development with respect to listening and language, both of which are very heavily involved in the process of communication. This development is initiated well before birth and derives both from physiological aptitudes which mature during the intrauterine experience and from an unconscious desire to enter, or not to enter, into communication. This desire to communicate is influenced by external factors, the most important of which is the quality of the relationship that is established progressively between mother and child during pregnancy. Whatever the quality of this relationship, the mother’s voice, perceived by the child during the nine months of pregnancy, represents a constant presence and therefore engenders a special, and reassuringly stable, link between mother and the unborn child. It is for this reason that the mother’s recorded voice, modified in a laboratory so that it is similar to the voice as it is perceived in utero, is often used at the beginning of a program to rekindle the desire to communicate. In most cases, listening to the mother’s voice is a positive experience for the child and accelerates progress, provided that the mother accompanies the child every step of the way. In fact, listening sessions with the Electronic Ear will bring about changes in the child’s behaviour, notably a more or less pronounced phase of regression, which must be not only consciously accepted by the mother but also experienced by her. It is for this reason that, within the framework of The Tomatis Method® , the accompaniment of the child by the mother is considered indispensable, provided that it occurs under good conditions. During the child’s listening program, the mother will also have listening sessions with the Electronic Ear. These will not only help her to relax but will also help her and the child accept the behavioural changes brought about by the listening program.

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-15- Why is the father’s presence desirable?
The desire to communicate on the part of the child is brought about, even “authorized”, by the mother; even so, the reassuring image that she represents, while it may serve as a basis for the elaboration of language, does not provide the keys that will make language a tool of social communication. The relationship with the mother gives the child the confidence, the strength, and the desire to move toward the outside world, and thus toward the father. In order for the child’s socialization to progress normally, various conditions must be present: the mother must be willing to “push” the child toward the outside world, and the father must agree to, or be ready to, “receive” the child. It is for this reason that, within the framework of The Tomatis Method® , the father’s presence is altogether desirable once the child has reached a certain stage. If the father has also been able to have listening sessions, he will be better able to understand, and to prepare himself for, his role in this process.

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-16- Are the gains made during a Tomatis program lasting?
Yes, progress made during a Tomatis program lasts. This is because the gains made are not due to a conditioning but rather to a restoration of balance. Indeed, even though the reasons for seeking help from The Tomatis Method® are many and varied, all are related to a malfunction and thus to a more or less severe state of Neuro-physiological disequilibrium. Ear training with the Electronic Ear will, therefore, tend to lead the individual back toward a state of equilibrium, which, because it is a normal state, requires much less effort than a more or less severe state of dysfunction. We can state, then, that, in the great majority of cases, not only are gains made by the individual during the program maintained but also that progress may continue once the developmental process has been restored to its normal state.

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-17- At what age does The Tomatis Method® produce the best results?
Even though The Tomatis Method® is effective in any circumstances, there are certain conditions that may facilitate or impede the improvement that it produces. Thus, depending upon the nature of the problem, youth may be a facilitating factor; this is particularly the case when the problem is situated at the language level or the psychomotor level, or when it relates to scholastic performance. On the other hand, in the case of older individuals (adolescents and adults), personal motivation can often help overcome the difficulty associated with longstanding problems. In fact, there is no real age limit with respect to improvements that may be attained by using The Tomatis Method® ; experience shows that, in the great majority of cases, good results can be achieved by individuals of all ages, whether children, adolescents, adults or the elderly.

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-18- Who uses The Tomatis Method® ?

The Tomatis Method® is used by professionals who work with adults, adolescents or children having problems with respect to:

Personal development:

i. energy -:- (fatigue, memory, concentration, motivation, creativity, goal setting and achievement of objectives);
ii. relaxation -:- (stress, dependencies, overwork);
iii. equilibrium -:- (skill, agility, laterality, sports);
iv. communication -:- (timidity, aggressiveness, withdrawal, understanding of self and others);
v. music -:- (awareness, speed, quality, rhythm, analysis, memorization);
vi. spoken and sung voice -:- (quality and flow, pitch, diction, articulation, placement of the voice, professional mastery of the voice);
vii. pregnancy  

Learning

i. oral language -:- (articulation, diction, rhythm, stuttering, voice timbre, language delay, absence of language);
ii. written language -:- (dyslexia, dysgraphia, spelling problems);
iii. expression -:- (ideation, concentration, memorization);
iv. assimilation -:- (comprehension, retention);
v. learning aids -:- (preparation for exams, etc…).


Emotional/Behavioural problems:

i. psychological problems -:- (relationship problems, depression, severe anxiety, exhaustion, overwork).
ii. motor problems -:- (coordination, delay, dysgraphia, hypotonia);

 

Foreign languages: -:- (preparation, assimilation, acquisition, accent, advancement, mastery).

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-19- What are the most obvious results of The Tomatis Method® with respect to children?
The most apparent results are often reported to the Tomatis consultant by parents, who frequently notice an improvement of : voice quality (spoken and sung); concentration; comprehension; the ability to communicate; reading skill; oral and written expression; motor skills; speed; punctuality; a better sense of rhythm, self-reliance, general behaviour (calm, open, etc…).

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-20- How soon do the results of The Tomatis Method® become noticeable?
The observable results of The Tomatis Method® must be analysed on two levels, one rather superficial and the other deep-rooted. On the superficial level, a number of apparent results can be perceived rather quickly within a few weeks or even a few days following the onset of listening sessions with the Electronic Ear. For this reason, The Tomatis Method® is often experienced as a dynamic procedure that is easy to pursue both by the individual who is benefiting from it and by his/her close associates. At a deeper level, it must be understood that the restructuring brought about by the Electronic Ear allows the individual to recover his or her own inner balance and, thus, to modify, in the best sense of the term, his/her own value system; this in-depth development is less spectacular and takes place at a slower pace. One of the important points, then, is to recognize that these improvements are not only going to be maintained over time but also will continue well after the end of a Tomatis listening program. A well-conducted listening training program with the Electronic Ear will produce results lasting several years, the individual having been repositioned in a state of evolving normalcy that only a major new event would be able to counteract. In such a case, a simple short booster program in a Tomatis Centre is often all that is necessary to re-establish equilibrium and restart continuing improvement.

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-21- What is an Electronic Ear?
The Tomatis Listening Trainer or "Electronic Ear", an innovative electronic device developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis in the 1950s and patented by him, is essential to the implementation of The Tomatis Method® . Since its initial presentation at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958, the device has undergone many developments with respect both to design and technology. It is connected upstream to a sound source such as a tape player and downstream to a unique headset that allows the individual to hear comfortably sound transmitted through air and bone conduction. The Electronic Ear deals with the sound signal in such a way that the essential operations that permit the proper functioning of the audio-vocal loop are created. These are: the electronic gating system that encourages the intermittent contraction of the muscles of the middle ear; the latency time control which acts upon the rapidity of adaptation of our auditory receiver to external messages; the precession control that, by means of regulating air and bone conduction, brings about a phenomenon of “anticipation” inherent to the functioning of the inner ear; balance control that gives priority to the right ear as the leading, or dominant, ear. The Electronic Ear is not for sale to the public; it is used only by professionals trained in The Tomatis Method® in their work with their clients.

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-22- Why use the music of Mozart?
After numerous trials with other types of music, we have found that the results obtained by using Mozart’s music are amazing; no matter where in the world it is evaluated. In fact, we note that this music is not only very well accepted on every continent but that it also allows listeners to re-establish their own inner equilibrium. In order to understand this effect upon the sense of human balance, we must recall that music is characterized by rhythm, which touches the body; by harmony, which reaches the emotions; and by melody, which calls upon the intellect. According to the classical ideal, these three parameters should be in balance, which is rarely the case, one or the other often being dominant, and, for this reason, producing a rather unusual musical discourse. In the case of Mozart, it seems that this balance was achieved, which may explain the universal character of his music.

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-23- Why use Gregorian chant?
Gregorian chant originated in the music of the Mediterranean Basin and was introduced by Pope Gregory the First in the Sixth Century. This chant does not follow a normal, regular pulse beat. It can thus be stated that it does not correspond to cardiac rhythm but rather has a proportional beat very close to respiratory rhythm, which is characterized by a succession of sequences of unequal length. This phenomenon is found in ocean waves that succeed each other without ever being totally identical one with another. The soothing effect of Gregorian chant is thus due to the connection between the respiratory system and the nervous system. The entire body is involved if only by lengthened breathing when no movement takes place. This soothing effect is of great interest in the framework of listening sessions with the Tomatis Effect using the Electronic Ear.

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