The ear is the first organ of the foetus to be fully functional. Through it the foetus makes contact via sound: visceral, organic and especially vocal sound. The child hears the voice and extracts emotional essence from it; it is the only semantic he knows…Dr. A Tomatis
Dr. A Tomatis, French Physician, Neurologist and E.N.T.specialist has been a prolific pioneer in the study of auditory processing and language development for the past 45 years. He was also one of the first to believe that babies can hear their mother’s voice in the womb.
Babies perceive their mother’s voice from their fourth month of prenatal life. According to Tomatis the nine months in the womb is a crucial time not only for physiological development also for psychological development. The perception of the mother’s voice is the very first bond of communication with the world. The quality of this bond will deeply influence our attitude toward life. Babies make “one” with their mother’s feelings and emotions, they feel every muscular tension of the mother, they share the hormonal secretions of the mother’s emotions, and most of all they are engulfed in the mother’s voice via bone vibration. The mother’s voice fills the baby with a sense of well being and provides a huge amount of stimulation to the brain and the nervous system. Indeed the function of the ear is not limited to just hearing, the ears give tremendous energy to the brain and controls posture, inducing good verticality so that one not only hears, but starts to listen properly.
Through his work, Dr. Tomatis has developed a treatment which is simply based on listening to specific sounds through the “Electronic Listening Device”, filtered accordingly to the individual need of the client. These sounds (Mozart and Gregorian tapes) are filtered in such a way the ears are encouraged to listen properly. This method has been successfully helping women during their pregnancy in many Listening Centres around the world. Two French hospitals (Foch and Vesoul) use the Tomatis Method as prenatal preparation. The method helped not only to facilitate an easier birth but also to improve the quality of pregnancy.
Pregnant woman who experience the Listening Therapy sessions feel extremely relaxed – and approach the birth of their child with the same relaxed feeling. It releases back pain and gives the mother more energy. During the sessions themselves, mothers experience a great exchange with their baby who responds to the music.
A study conducted at Vasoul Hospital in France with 50 woman on Listening Therapy Treatment compared with 50 women with no preparation whatsoever and a further 50 woman on the traditional method of preparation showed the following results.
|Without preparation||Traditional Training||Listening Therapy|
|Average time of labour||3 hours.30mins||4 hours.0 mins||2 hours.30mins|
|No. of Caesareans||15%||13%||4%|
Another study conducted n 1991 at the Foch Hospital in Surenes near Paris confirmed the results observed by the Vasuol study. Even though this group of women followed the programme less intensely, anxiety descreased significantly in the Tomatis group whilst the group it increased in the group following the more traditional preparation. Labour was also significiantly shorter by an average of 47 mins, mainly due to the fact that 17% of the woman in the Tomatis group gave birth to their babies in less than three hours (6%in the control group) the APGAR test, which rated the degree of adapation of each baby to their new environment showed that the Tomatis babies recovered better and faster.
Babies also benefit from the sessions, indeed they respond to their mother’s sense of well being and the improvement to in their mother’s voice which becomes enriched in harmonics and modulations. “Tomatis babies” are known to be more aware, alert and “toned- up”.
We are all aware of the importance of these 9 months in the womb. Listening Therapy preparation provides the best chance to make birth a happy event and prepares future mothers to bring their babies into a world in happiness and serenity.