Listening Programs (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on September 3rd, 2012 by Denise | No Comments

Listening Programs (Part 2 of 2)


Denise Koonce OTR

Well welcome back to Listening Programs Part 2.  I left off last week with a historical perspective of how listening programs began.  This week I want to provide you with, as Paul Harvey would say “the rest of the story”.   The remaining programs to be covered are Berard’s Auditory Integration Training (AIT), SAMONAS, Therapeutic Listening, The Listening Program, and Integrated Listening Systems. 

The Auditory Integration Training (AIT) was created by Dr. Guy Berard, an Otolaryngologist, also from France, after studying under Dr. Tomatis. He initially built a device called the Audiokinetron or Ears Education and Retraining System (EERS) which was produced to provide auditory integration therapy.  Because of the positive effects AIT was providing to individuals on the autism spectrum the FDA began to investigate it as a medical device and because of a lack of statistical research proving itself as a medical device; it was banned from the US in 1993.  He then began to research and create another device that could offer the same therapy but under an educational premise.  He eventually produced a piece of equipment called the Digital Auditory Aerobics it was never used in the US.  Then in 2001, Dr. Berard approved the use of his protocol with the Earducator and it subsequently approved for use in the US.  It was also Dr. Berards goal to make the progress efficient and therefore he worked hard to produce a program which required less time to produce the same positive results.  The AIT method requires 2; 30 minute listening sessions a day, with 3 hours break in between, for a period of 10 consecutive days.  You can take a 1-2 day break after at least 5 days into the program.   In other words, you can take the weekend off.  The AIT method does not use bone conduction with its headphones.  The protocol does require audio logical testing before beginning the protocol, midway and then at the end.   The Berard method is not available in a home setting and has to be performed either in a clinic or school by a trained AIT professional.

SAMONAS, which is the anachronism for Spectrally Activated Sounds of Optimal Natural Structure, was developed by Ingo Steinbach while in Germany.  Ingo Steinback studied with Dr. Tomatis and then used his background in sound and electrical engineering along with physics and music to develop SAMONAS.   SAMONAS uses a myriad of CD’s loaded with specific music and nature sounds he produces in his studio, Klangstudio Lambdoma.  SOMONAS offers its program to a broad range of individuals and is organized by self guided, coached, supervised home listening plans, and 10-day in-clinic intensives.  The SAMONAS program uses CD’s or preloaded MP-3 players to play the music through specified headphones and only uses bone conduction with their In-Clinic Intensives.  The SOMONAS program most commonly used in connection with a therapist is the Supervised Home Listening Plan.  The supervised home listening plan contains a numerous selection of CD’s, and the user listens 2-30 minutes a day for several months.

Therapeutic Listening by Vital Links was created by Sheila Frick, OTR in 1997 and uses electronically altered CD’s based on the ideas and technology created by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, Guy Berard, and Ingo Steinbach.  Mrs. Frick had a strong background in the Sensory Integrative Frame of reference and was the first person to add therapeutic listening to a Sensory Integrative Treatment approach.   While the individual is listening to the CD’s the therapist is guiding the child through sensory integrative activities therefore adding yet another layer to the treatment program  The user listens one hour a day or 2 times a day for 30 minutes with at least a 3 hour break in between.  There is a large number of CD’s available and the order in which the CD’s should be used is not predetermined. The order is determined by the user’s responses.  The therapist evaluates those responses, discusses them with the individual and then selects the progression of CD’s.

The Listening Program was created by a team at Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT) in 1998, as a home based therapeutic tool.  Advanced Brain Technologies was started by Alex Doman and is a neurotechnology company which develops and distributes a variety of interactive software and music-based programs.   ABT also used the premise of Dr. Tomatis and others work.   Specific compositions of music are selected by ABT and performed live by the Arcangelos Chamber Ensemble and recorded. They then modify the recording to produce a psychoacoustically modified music which is used in The Listening Program.  The program uses CD’s and head phones with and without bone conduction.  The user should listen 15-30 minutes, five days a week for several weeks or months until the desired result is achieved.

Lastly, the Integrated Listening System (iLs) came about after Dr. Ron Minson and his wife Kate traveled to France in 1990 so their daughter, who has dyslexia, could receive treatment from Dr. Tomatis.  They were so pleased with the results that Dr. Minson returned to study under Dr. Tomatis. Upon his return home, Dr. Minson began integrating what he learned into his psychiatry practice.  In 2001, Mr. and Mrs. Minson began to develop sound equipment to further improve the listening program and their company Dynamic Listening Systems (DLS) began.  Then in 2007, after much research, iLs was formed with a departure from the Tomatis Method.  The ways iLs differs from the Tomatis Method are the integration of sound and movement, new protocol design and use of frequencies, shorter training, and a new interactive language program focusing on auditory processing skills.  The music is loaded onto a MP3 player and the user should listen, once tolerance is acquired, an hour; 3-5 times a week.

The above described listening programs all have differences but also similarities.  The similarities included a background of Dr. Tomatis’s previous work, a correlation between certain sound frequencies and what aspects of the mind and body those sound frequencies affect.  They share similarities in the populations which benefit from AIT such as autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, sensory integrative disorders, listening and auditory deficits.  The benefits shared are an improvement in attention, listening, academic skills, sensory processing, and brain health.   

Over the years I have heard about incredible experiences therapists have witnessed while overseeing a patient engaged in an auditory integration program.  Please share with us your experiences of using a listening program with your patients and which program you used.

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