Auditory therapy of A. Tomatis (part 2)
The function of hearing
Hearing, not hearing, is the primary function of the ear. Tomatis draws a clear line between hearing and hearing.
Hearing is a passive process; listening is active and it requires us to use our ears in an appropriate way. We can have excellent hearing, but poor listeners. Many children who have learning difficulties or lack concentration have excellent hearing, but cannot read well or concentrate. Their problem is their inability to listen. As a result, they cannot concentrate and have difficulty reading. If you want to find out whether you or your child has problems with hearing, see the excellent checklist of Paul Madaule at the end of this article.Listening is the ability to perceive the necessary information, as well as the ability to filter out unnecessary information. When we feel good, we can ignore the various stimuli coming from the environment or directly from us; this allows us to focus and concentrate without feeling confused or helpless before the influx of huge amounts of information. We can sort and organize this information to determine its significance without feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, when the hearing process is disrupted, there are problems in learning, communication and social skills.
“Hearing training, developed by Tomatis, is designed to restore the ability of the ears to listen in a more effective, organized and balanced manner. The goal is to improve the brain’s ability to perceive and process different information. When the listening function is expanded or restored, the brain demonstrates a more effective ability to perceive and process signals coming from the environment.” (Quoted from: Paul Madaule, L. P. and Valerie Dejean, O. T., “The Listening Function»)
The dominant ear
To the surprise of many, we all have a dominant ear, with some dominated by the right, others – the left ear. Those with a dominant right ear are able to capture and process auditory information faster than people with a dominant left ear. Therefore, “right-handed” are able to better control the parameters of their own voice and speech: intensity, frequency, timbre, rhythm and flow of sentences. The Tomatis Program allows clients to learn how to use their right ear more effectively, in order to gain better voice control. In various situations, it helps to maintain self-control and self-confidence.
Several independent researchers, assessing the effects of the Tomatis Method on stuttering (Badenhorst, 1975), concluded that “individuals with a dominant right ear have demonstrated an excellent ability to respond spontaneously and adequately to various stimuli. As a rule, “right-handed”, were more open and more sympathetic natures, had less tendency to anxiety, tension, frustration and aggression. These results are fully consistent with the predictions of the theory of Tomatis.” (Cited by Van Jaarsveld and Duplessis, S. Afr. J. Psychology, 1988, 18 (4)).
The relationship of the ear and voice
Speaking about the function of the ear, it is impossible not to remember the voice: they are connected in an unusual way. Based on the accumulated experimental data, Tomatis in 1953 presented a report to the French Academy of Sciences, which establishes the following law: “the Voice reproduces only those sounds that the ear can hear.”
As a result, improved hearing leads to a change in voice. This phenomenon can be observed in singers with voice problems. In many cases, the cause of voice problems is hearing problems, because the ear is not able to control the accuracy of the sound to reproduce it. This leads to the fact that many singers begin to “squeeze out” the sounds instead of trying to overcome this difficulty. As soon as hearing problems are solved, the voice regains its full potential. It is not surprising that many famous singers, for example, Maria Callas, consulted in the center of Tomatis.
Children with poor hearing often have learning problems and have monotonous, flat, and sometimes sharp voices. A sharp voice, for example, indicates the inability to analyze high harmonies and the dominance of the left ear. Improving auditory abilities and developing the right ear of the child, you can see how his voice begins to reproduce a rich range of harmonies, and becomes accurate, measured and fast in response.
When there is a hearing
At the beginning of his career, Tomatis claimed that the fetus, being in the womb, hears and listens to her voice. Scientific research has confirmed this idea, which is now an indisputable truth.
The ear of the embryo begins to function fully at four and a half months. Henry Truby (1) reports that a six-month-old fetus moves its body to the rhythm of its mother’s speech. Based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, Tomatis (2) concluded that the mother’s voice, not only serves as an emotional nutrient for the child, but also prepares him for the acquisition of language skills after birth.
For this reason, Tomatis suggests using the mother’s voice to reopen the hearing process. The voice is passed through filters, Recalling a sound that a fetus hear in the womb. From the reactions of children and adults, it is clear that the use of the mother’s voice has a strong impact: children often calm down, as if the voice calms them; they show more love and affection, especially to the mother. Foster children achieve better contact with their foster mother. The mother’s voice is a solid Foundation through which the process of listening begins and develops, also affecting the subsequent development of language skills. In General, this whole process is nothing more than an attempt to “reprogram” the various stages of human development through symbolic experience.
Since Tomatis uses the mother’s voice as part of the therapeutic process, some people have incorrectly concluded that the responsibility for the difficulties of the child he shifts to the mother. This does not reflect the position of Tomatis at all. The use of the mother’s voice is a therapeutic tool that creates or restores a connection between the mother and the child, which is not fully developed. Hundreds of studies and experiments show that this connection is the basis of personal security and the beginning of interaction with the world.
Using the mother’s voice, Tomatis seeks to instill in the child the desire to reconnect with the mother and hear her voice as the first time. This “psychological” approach should be accompanied by concrete work, the purpose of which is to build anew the system of perception. Summarizing all the above, we can say that the method of Tomatis offers a clear system for a more harmonious and perfect development.