Children in classroom, arms raised.


The joints, the muscles, the body’s posture are all tied to the labyrinth of the ear. Dr. Alfred Tomatis

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The ear is like a radio receiver which has different frequencies and wave bands. “ Suppressing and altering these wavebands will render a person incapable of writing three lines without numerous spelling mistakes. It is the origin of dyslexia, of dysgraphia, dysorthographia and all the “dys-s” in the world.…Dr. A Tomatis


When Dr. Tomatis explained the relationships between the ear, the brain and the nervous system he defined 3 basic units that are building blocks for physical, cognitive and emotional development. He called them the 3 integrators. It is helpful to know a little about them to understand how profound changes can be brought about by undergoing the therapy and bringing the ears into correct functioning and balance.

The Cochlear Integrator makes differentiating sound possible so speech can be developed.

It can be affected by
- disturbances like ear infections which can slow down language development.

It can cause problems of sequencing and decoding making reading difficult making phonetics and schoolwork difficult, when otherwise the child can be well organised in other aspects of life.

The Vestibular Integrator helps control muscles of the body, equilibrium and verticality.

When it is not functioning well it can be the cause of:

  • delayed motor development.
  • sensory integration difficulties like over-sensitivity to sounds and tactile defensiveness.
  • being clumsy and accident prone.
  • having a short attention span.
  • speaking too loudly and with a high pitched voice.
  • thoughts shifting from one subject to another and the content being of dubious logic.
  • being disorganised except for favourite activities.
  • being able to read but not necessarily understanding the meaning or context.
  • being rigid and not being able to adapt well to change.
  • being a painstakingly slow writer with irregular handwriting.

The Visual Integrator allows the perception of our environment in terms of form, dimension and colour. The muscles of the eyes are controlled by the joint efforts of the visual and vestibular integrators.

The muscles of the eyes are under the control of the vestibule of the ear.

  • 20% of the eyes capacity is involved in maintaining balance. When balance is poor it becomes an even higher percentage due to slowing down of information processed by the eye.

When there is a poor ear-eye connection maintaining eye contact could be difficult.

  • orienting ourselves in space and being able to judge proximity and distance would be miscalculated.
  • both fine and gross motor skills could be affected
  • and hand-eye coordination could be lacking as is necessary in drawing, handicrafts and sporting activities.

A new pair of spectacles may be a necessary adjunct but will not bring about a change in the cochlear, vestibular, visual integration as Dr. Tomatis proposed. I have had many clients report that their vision has improved by tuning their ears and I, myself can testify along with many others that colours become brighter, 3D perception is enhanced and peripheral vision is greatly increased. Tomatis Listening Therapy turns the percentages around from 30% hits and 70% misses to 70% hits and 30 % misses. This is an enormous boost to a person’s self appraisal of their skills and confidence.

Please see Sports and Visual Arts for more information.

The methods used by the Listeneing Centre (London), known as Listening Therapy, are based on the published works of Alfred A.Tomatis and use only the original analogue form of sound.