Psuedo-Tomatis Healing Sounds
Listen to the Psuedo-Tomatis Healing Sounds for at least ten minutes prior to a mentally challenging task and you’ll see, hear, and feel a difference. More importantly, it creates a clear-headed, sparkling aural buzz.
How It Works
Warning: The below is painfully long and will only be of interest to the most intellectual (i.e. boring) of you wonderful readers. Save it for a trans-Atlantic flight in which you’ve already watched all the movies and read all the SkyMalls and have nothing else to do, which, coincidentally is the predicament the author is in right now as he scribes the over-weighty, adverb-riddled copy below.
If we cannot hear a certain frequency in our ears, we will not be able to vocalize that frequency in our throats. This is what Dr. Alfred Tomatis (1920 – 2001) learned studying opera singers. Though their vocal capabilities were fine, some singers were having trouble hitting notes that had previously been easy. They wanted to know why. Tomatis discovered that after prolonged exposure to high volumes, the middle ears of the singers had become flabby, a kind of “callus” had developed to protect the eardrum from extended exposure to loud noises. (Opera nerds: Please fill in your own Maria Callas pun here.) As a result the singers lost the ability to sing the notes blocked by this “flab” in their ears. To cure the ailment, Tomatis developed a sound therapy in which music switched on and off in fast repetition. He theorized the therapy would “exercise” the flabby part of the middle ear back into shape, allowing the singers to hear the frequencies again, and thus sing them. It worked. Tomatis soon after became one of the most influential sound therapists of the twentieth century.
Tomatis’ next goal was to improve the learning abilities of those with autism and pervasive development disorder (PDD). He knew our ears were connected to opposite parts of the brain: The right ear was connected to the left brain, the left ear was connected to the right brain. The left brain is where we process language. Tomatis argued that those who hear most sounds through their right ears—right ear dominant—can learn and interpret language quickly and accurately because their ears are directly wired to the language-areas of the left brain. Those who are left ear dominant will process information more slowly and less reliably because the sound is sent to the right brain, which can’t process it, and is thus re-sent across the corpus callosum to the left brain. The additional time it takes the left ear to send information from the right brain across the corpus callosum to the left brain affects language processing ability, generates errors, and causes learning disorders.
Consider the sounds “b” and “p,” two letters we can only distinguish through their higher harmonics. People who are left ear dominant have to guess the difference between these letters, which delays their response and leads to errors. Those with right ear dominance understand the distinction between the letters instantly. An interesting semi-related factoid is that different languages use different frequencies: Britons speak English in frequencies between 2,000 and 12,000 Hz; the French speak their language in frequencies mainly between 1,000 and 2,000 Hz. Tomatis theorized that the discrepancy in pitches between these languages makes the French “deaf” to English and vice versa. This is the primary reason it is so difficult for Britons and French to learn one another’s language.
To retrain left ear dominant people to hear with an “ideal listening curve,” Tomatis developed gated and filtered audio tracks, a sound therapy of high frequencies that stimulates the brain. He claimed gating and filtering could help lessen the symptoms of dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autism, and depression, as well as boost creativity and performance. Numerous studies over the last twenty years show Tomatis therapy did indeed increase language comprehension and processing by up to 90 percent. A study of 400 children in Toronto found that after Tomatis therapy children showed 86 percent improvement in attention span, 89 percent improvement in communication abilities, and more. Dozen more studies show similar results. (However, a 2007 study conducted at University of California, Berkeley, countered these claims.)
Even people without learning disorders can benefit from Tomatis sound therapy. By stimulating the brain through gating and filtering, he argued, “normal” people could improve motor skills, improve overall sound processing, and gain physical energy (i.e., get high). For his groundbreaking contributions, Tomatis was named Knight of Public Health in 1951.