We read with our ears, the written sign is nothing but a sound which needs to be reproduced.…Dr. A Tomatis
Perhaps the most widely known benefit of undertaking a course of listening therapy is with respect to dyslexia.
Although dyslexia manifests itself in different ways in different people, in general terms many sufferers have difficulty in transposing numbers and letters, making reading more difficult for them. Dyslexia does not mean in any way that a dyslexic is less intelligent or less gifted – quite the contrary! There have been and still are, and will be, many distinguished and gifted dyslexics in all fields of human life.
There are two major areas in which listening therapy can address difficulties faced by dyslexics thrown into the mainstream of conventional educational methods. These are:
- The ability to clearly decode and anaylyse sound
- To ensure that the right ear is the dominant or leading ear.
Decoding and Analysing
Decoding sound and analysing it correctly is a complicated process. There is a whole range of frequencies with overtones and varying intensities. In the case of Dyslexia, Tomatis believed that the sounds with a similar base frequency but variable overtones would make it difficult for identification and prone to misinterpretation. The extra attention required in decipherment would lead to a slowing down of the interpretation and the dyslexic would be left behind by the speaker. Processing language at a slower rate means that a dyslexic has an auditory processing problem. The Tomatis Listening Therapy can help with this auditory processing by training the ears to distinguish between the higher harmonics that are prone to misinterpretation.
This leads naturally to an improvement in reading skills, for even if we read silently, there is the translation of letter or word into a corresponding sound by the cochlea. The ears and eyes should work synchronously. If the vestibule and cochlea are not working together, there will be a delay, meaning that ear and eye are not co-ordinated as well as they might be. It follows that the right sound does not always follow on from the right letter. Once the sounds match, improvements in motor skills and spatial awareness occur as the whole ear functions harmoniously.General dexterity, as in holding a pencil and the amount of pressure applied, improves handwriting and neatness. The rich ideas of dyslexic children can now manifest in the written word much quicker and efficiently.
Right Ear Dominance
The second area where Tomatis Listening Therapy can help is ensuring that the right ear becomes the leading or dominant ear. The reason for this is that it is easier to process language and process auditory information faster, as the neural connections between the right ear and the language centre of the brain in the left hemisphere are more direct. If the left ear is dominant, as is often the case for those with learning difficulties, then the auditory stimulus must travel a longer, more circuitous route and this results in delay. A left ear dominant listener is always trying to catch up. As the course progresses the sounds will gradually shift from left to right ear. This will retrain the right ear, to take up its rightful position as leading ear. Given time, this will result in better communication skills and permanent self-perpetuating improvements.
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