History Filtration Gating
The following information is in reference to Chapter 15, page 178 of The Power Of Sound.
Dr. Alfred Tomatis redefined the role of the ear. He believed that the process of listening profoundly impacts many aspects of ourselves. He also discovered that learning problems are often rooted in listening problems. He believed that when our ears do not function properly, a major source of energy is under-utilized.
According to Tomatis, high frequency sounds are the most beneficial for “charging” the nervous system. This is one of the reasons why he began to filter out the lowest 8000 Hz of sound in his sound therapy method. Subsequently he discovered that it was not enough to bathe the ear in high frequencies if the internal auditory mechanism was not properly tuned. Extensive gating techniques were created to tone the two tiny muscles of the middle ear so that a full spectrum of sound could be transmitted to the inner ear and the brain could perceive a full spectrum of sound.6
Through the creation of his Electronic Ear, Tomatis accomplished the F/G of soundtracks–mostly comprised of Mozart’s music, a mother’s voice, and Gregorian chant. With a complex arrangement of air and bone conduction, sound-processing gates, equalizers, delays, left-right balance, and microphone, the Electronic Ear device can be adjusted for individual sound “prescriptions.” The Tomatis Method, in its entirety, is comprised of three interlocking elements: progressive sound stimulation, audio-vocal activities, and therapeutic consultation.
The foundations of the Tomatis Method were laid in the 1940s and his theories continue to play a central role in music-based sound stimulation. With technical advances, however, the Electronic Ear is being replaced by other Tomatis-oriented hardware and software devices. As is common with the creation of a successful methodology, other practitioners experiment, combine, and mold the original into new approximations. This has certainly been the case with the F/G techniques of Tomatis. While the Tomatis Method is not being replaced, new sound stim innovations, not associated with the Tomatis Method, though inspired by his work, continue to develop and gain popularity. A common focus is on re-educating middle ear auditory pathways through the electronic modification of music and sound.
One of the earliest extensions of F/G outside of the Tomatis Method was a series of tapes made by Canadian Patricia Joudry in ____. She recognized the power of the Tomatis Method after gaining great benefit from the therapy. However, because there were few clinics in North America, she felt it was better for those who could not logistically arrange a clinical program to have some portable version of the method. Her series is known as Sound Therapy for the Walkman, with a book of the same title.
Another method, known as Auditory Integration Training (AIT), was created by Tomatis’s patient cum student and colleague, Dr. Guy Berard. He created a machine called the Audiokinetron and applied his method of sound stimulation primarily to children with autistic spectrum disorders. From this work evolved another device, also modeled on the Electronic Ear—the Audio Tone Enhancer/Trainer. This sound-processing machine was known as the BGC.
Billie Thompson, Ph.D.,7 played a large role in introducing the Tomatis Method to America. Dr. Thompson has written or edited numerous articles and books on Tomatis and has witnessed the Tomatis progression. She observes, “The Society of Auditory Integration Training (SAIT) was organized for those providing AIT using the BGC and Berard machines, but the organization’s activities declined following a 1996 incident in Florida that resulted in confiscation of equipment and the FDA’s decision to stop importation of the Audiokinetron.”8
Portable and/or home-based programs such as the Listening Fitness Trainer, The Listening Program (TLP), Samonas, and Therapeutic Listening have blossomed into widespread use since 2000. In much the same way that Dr. Tomatis’s work inspired the development of these programs, the success of these portable, convenient programs is contributing to the development of a specialized sonic neurotechnology industry. that combines an awareness of the effects of sound stimulation with today’s audio equipment and software capabilities. If it wasn’t for these other programs, Tomatis would still be a center-based therapy. Because of the new portability, Tomatis-esque sound stim is now available on a global level.
From the Electronic Ear’s early use of reel to reel tapes to present day digital audio players, and from the licensing of analog recordings filtered and gated by the Electronic Ear to new high definition recordings and application-specific production processes, the advent of technical and creative considerations is impressive. Through it all, Mozart’s music continues to prevail!
Evolving Tomatis-oriented Techniques
An example of evolving Tomatis-oriented techniques is brought forward by Alex Doman, son of Robert Doman, founder and CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT), and leader of The Listening Program development team. He has innovated a technique called audio bursting, which is an outgrowth of Tomatis’s original gating. In an effort to maintain the aesthetics of the music while applying random sound changes, audio bursting incorporates random intensity changes of specific frequencies for variable durations in tandem with the ABT’s audio bursting was first used around 2006 in The Listening Program Level One Kit musical score. The patent-pending techniques of audio bursting also involves volume changes in contrast with proceeding quiet, in an attempt to train the auditory system’s natural filtering system and to assist with discrimination. A fraction of a second’s quiet time allows for recovery and readiness of the middle ear system, while providing a base for contrast that is void of tonal information.