The following information is in reference to Chapter 5, page 61 of The Power Of Sound.
The efficacy of F/G has been proven more in empirical result than in independent scientific research. Over the last fifty years, Tomatis’s method of sonic stimulation has been tested on well over a million clients worldwide.11 However, research lags the growth rate of the field. Leading Tomatis advocates are scientifically oriented, highly credentialed, and well-spoken. They will confidently share the wealth of results they have personally witnessed from sound stimulation auditory training. Yet the exact understanding as to why “scratchy” Mozart has worked miracles seems to be not so easy to articulate.
According to Dr. Billie Thompson, “The demand for more sound-based services in the United States is growing as individuals recognize that these methods offer a new solution for disabilities and deficits that have heretofore resisted change or been untreatable.”12 However, lack of funded research to prove efficacy has hindered the outreach of these clinically-proved therapeutic models. The biggest casualty of all is that many learning disabilities—not to mention numerous other tonal processing considerations—would become successfully addressed with the widespread distribution of F/G methodologies to school systems, prisons, and clinics. However, because of the web of government regulation, insurance considerations, and competing pharmaceutical interests, sound stimulation therapies will have to go through the onerous process of public acceptance.13 The loss is to the numerous people who could be helped in the meantime.
The work of Tomatis has been controversial from inception. His theories and techniques seems to ignite strong feelings, one way or the other. Research into the Tomatis Method engenders mixed reviews, as well. Depending on the outcomes, some would argue that studies were not set up correctly or that Tomatis programs were inappropriately administered.
In 2005, I personally experienced the heat around Tomatis. I was presenting at a conference in Scotland and found myself in an informal conversation with an American audiologist who is also a highly-respected author and university department chairperson–a professional of prestige. I was disappointed when she matter-of-factly told me that she wouldn’t be attending my lecture because I would be talking about Tomatis. With some disdain, she explained that “…the claims made by Tomatis proponents are physiologically impossible and that any audiologist using the Tomatis Method should have their certification pulled!” Before leaving, however, she commented that the effects of the Tomatis Method were undeniable “…even though the science behind it is terrible.” Afterall, she said, “…at least 50,000 people participate in the Tomatis Method annually, and obviously some of them are having good results!”
Later that night, I consulted another conference presenter, a distinguished professor with a laboratory at an esteemed east coast university. I mentioned my earlier conversation and was curious for her opinion. My dinner mate gave me an exact opposite analysis, concluding that physiological changes brought about by Tomatis methodologies were, in fact, “absolutely possible and verifiable.” Welcome to the world of Tomatis…
Abstracts of Interest…
The following abstracts and study titles are provided to show some of the results, disparities, and topics of interest.14
“Brief Report: The Effects of Tomatis Sound Therapy on Language on Children With Autism.”This 2008 investigation was undertaken to determine the effects of the Tomatis Method on language skills in children with autism utilizing a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. The results indicated that although the majority of the children demonstrated general improvement in language over the course of the study, it did not appear to be related to the treatment condition. The percent change for Group 1 (Placebo/Treatment) for treatment was 17.41%, and placebo was 24.84%. Group 2 (Treatment/Placebo) showed -3.98% change for treatment and 14.15% change for placebo. The results reflect a lack of improvement in language using the Tomatis Method for children with autism.15
“Auditory integration training and other sound therapies for autism spectrum disorders.”
Background: Auditory integration therapy (AIT) was developed as a technique for improving abnormal sound sensitivity in individuals with behavioural disorders including autism. Other sound therapies bearing similarities to AIT include the Tomatis Method and Samonas Sound Therapy. Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of AIT or other methods of sound therapy in individuals with ASD. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of adults or children with ASD. Treatment was auditory integration therapy (AIT) or other sound therapies involving listening to music modified by filtering and modulation. Control groups could be no treatment, waiting list, usual therapy or placebo equivalent. Outcomes sought were changes in core and associated features of ASD, auditory processing, quality of life and adverse events.
Main results: No trials assessing sound therapies other than AIT were found Meta-analysis was not possible due to very high heterogeneity or presentation of data in unusable forms. Authors’ conclusions: More research is needed to inform parents’, carers’ and practitioners’ decision making about this therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.16
“A Review of Research done on Tomatis Auditory Stimulation (2009)” A total of 35 studies were published on the impact of the Tomatis Method of auditory stimulation. The largest number of publications deals with treating learning disabilities, showing that a variety of learning disabilities are effectively treated by the Tomatis Method. Several small scale research projects on autism have been reported, showing that about 60% of the autistic children benefit from the Tomatis intervention. Several studies show that the Tomatis intervention accelerates the learning of foreign languages. One of these shows that the Tomatis intervention reduces the time to obtain a correct pronunciation by half. Two small scale study documents the positive impact of Tomatis Training on the voice. Other studies show that Tomatis Training facilitates childbirth and reduces the time of labor. Other studies show positive effects on stuttering, retardation and on a range of psychological disorders.17
“The Improvement of Severe Psychomotor and Neurological Dysfunctions Treated with the Tomatis Audio-Psycho-Phonology Method Measured with EEG Brain Map and Auditory Evoked Potentials” (2007)
Background: Pioneering research of Tomatis led to th introduction of the Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP), to treat, improve, or remediate severely neurologically impaired individual. Method: Here we present for the first time data on the APP method with auditive evoked potentials and electroencephalographically (EEG) based brain mapping. Results: The improvement of these four patients by undergoing APP treatment is shown in their listening curves as well as in the results of the EEG based brain maps and the auditory evoked potentials. Conclusion: APP method seems to be an effctive and harmless treatment for patients with severe psychomotor and/or neurological dysfunctions. Auditory evoked potentials and EEG based brain mapping seems to be appropriate examination to demonstrate neurological changes after APP therapy.18
Ricochet is a peer-reviewed journal of the Tomatis Method Research. Their mission is to report Tomatis Method research, case studies, and theory worldwide. In their 2008 issue, the following case studies were presented:19
• Using the Tomatis Method to help children and adults with central auditory processing disorder unravel the seeming complexities of everyday life:
• Enhancing psychological well-being and musical proficiency:
• Sam’s incredible journey: A case of cerebellar ataxia
• The effects of a Tomatis program on first-time pregnant South African women
The International Association of Certified Tomatis Consultants (IARCTC) is the professional organization for Tomatis Consultants world-wide. Founded in 2001, IARCTC has 200+ members from 26 countries. The research they post on their website also gives a snapshot of the focus of current Tomatiswork.20
• The Thalamus, Neuropsychology and Tomatis
• Creating New Neuro Pathways
• Motor Skills, Energy, Expressiveness and Social Behavior: a Statistical Evaluation of Results
• Music and Spatial Reasoning
Dr. Tomatis died in 2001 and has left a growing legacy. His explorations of the use of sound stimulation and the ear have left an indelible mark on the terrain of sound therapy. So much so, that many derivatives of the original Tomatis Method flourish today.
Like so many methodology creators, a tight orthodoxy is maintained during the course of a lifespan. When the genius passes on, the genie comes out of the box and unique combinations emerge. Such has been the case with the work of Dr. Tomatis. Melding the original Tomatis Method with high technologies has allowed a waning in-clinic model to flower into an at-home therapeutic process. In America alone, there are now seven different sound stimulation programs that have evolved from the original Tomatis work. The creators of these methods reads like a who’s who in the Tomatis North American pantheon: Many of these people were trained by Tomatis himself, and asked by the good doctor to bring his work here. Others were so enamored of the results, they’ve devoted their professional lives to the Tomatis work while others have created dedicated companies to innovate and promote this work of auditory sound stimulation.
The development of new Tomatis-esque iterations and combinations with other therapeutic modalities continues at a dizzy pace. The advent of digital distribution (iPods, downloads, etc.) contribute to the ever-morphing Tomatis derivatives. This list, compiled in 2010, will undoubtedly change as time progresses. Kindly pardon any omissions. The following list provide’s a snapshot of the fluid innovation environment in North America and Europe.
Product Creator Websites
• AIT Guy Berard aitinstitute.org
• EnListen Billie Thompson soundlistening.com/enlisten.html
• iMozart R. Prada/C. Faddick http://vocalimages.com/?page_id=219
• Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) Kate Minson integratedlistening.com
• LiFT Paul Madaule listeningcentre.com/index.html
• Mozart’s Brain Activator Jozef Vervoort mozart-brain-lab.com
• Samonas Ingo Steinbach samonas.com
• SoListen Tomatis Developpement SA21 solistentraining.com
• The Listening Program (TLP) Advanced Brain Technologies thelisteningprogram.com
• Theraputic Listening Sheila Frick vitallinks.net
Tomatis websites of note:
• www.tomatis.com (In-depth website published by Pierre Sollier, Tomatis practitioner)
• www.tomatis-group.com (Tomatis Developpement SA (TDSA))
• www.TomatisAssociation.org/ (The International Association of Certified Tomatis
• http://ricochet-onlinejournal.com/ (The International Journal of Tomatis® Method Research)
• http://www.mozart-brain-lab.com (Institute for Tomatis training in Europe)