Noise Discrimination and Sound Therapy

A noisy environment

Listening means that we direct our ears to actively tune in to selected sounds, and at the same time tuning out unwanted sounds. A person who cannot tune in some sounds and tune out others will be unable to follow a conversation in a noisy environment.

This inability to differentiate sound from background noise, known as "Cocktail Party Syndrome", is a very common problem, affecting at least 20% of the population, both old and young.

The inability to tune out background sounds may be an indication of:

How Sound Therapy helps Cocktail Party Syndrome

Sound Therapy is a therapeutic self-help listening program based on the work of ear specialist Dr Alfred Tomatis, which uses specially recorded classical music to stimulate the brain and rehabilitate the ear. This portable system can be used at home or work and doesn't take any time out of your day.

There are several factors which explain the remarkable effectiveness of Sound Therapy for background noise differentiation problems. This is because the ability to differentiate and focus on specific sounds in a noisy environment is partly a function of the ear and partly of the brain.

Rehabilitating the Middle Ear Muscles

Dr Tomatis postulated that the middle ear muscles (the hammer and stirrup muscles) play a role in determining which sounds the ear will focus on. They change the tension on the ear drum and other membranes, allowing the ear to tune in exactly to a certain sound input.

The fluctuating high and low tones and boosted high frequencies which are added by the Sound Therapy filtering system stimulate the middle ear muscles in a unique way to restore tone to the musculature of the ear and pharynx (throat), literally giving the ear muscles a gym workout. Circulation to the area is increased and healing is stimulated.

The gymnastic rehabilitation of the middle ear muscles caused by Sound Therapy improves the ability to differentiate sound from background noise.

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Correcting Central Auditory Processing

Another aspect of the Cocktail Party Syndrome is , which means the ability of the brain to sort and make sense of different, simultaneous auditory inputs.

The ear is the end organ through which the auditory parts of the brain can be stimulated. The organised harmonic structure of classical music with its stimulating effect, further enhanced by the activation introduced by the filtering algorithms on Dr Tomatis' "Electronic Ear", has proved an effective way to increase neural efficiency in processing sound.

Sound Therapy activates numerous language centres and builds more efficient connections between the and the left brain hemisphere, which houses the auditory and language processing centres.

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Listening Foundation Program

Which Sound Therapy International Program should I use?

To improve your ability to discriminate sound, the best Sound Therapy program to start with is the Listening Foundation Program. For most, this program is all they need to successfully overcome auditory discrimination or hearing difficulties.

For those that need more help, Advanced programs are available to move onto after using a Level 1 program for at least 300 hours. For Cocktail Party Syndrome, choose the Natural Hearing Improvement series.

Get started with Sound Therapy now!

Please note: Sound Therapy is a rehabilitation program, and as such, it takes time for improvement. Persistence is essential.

Listener's Success Stories

Generally speaking, I think that my state improved in regards of well being and tinnitus especially. I had these moments that I was really surprised that I hear what other person says and I was listening with pleasure. I also feel that I am more concentrated on the others words. I feel like am concentrated on the words itself and do not hear all the sounds around.
2 months ago I really enjoyed going to the club whether in the past I hated such loud places. Normally I hadn't understood a word and I had been really anxious due to the very loud music. In this club music was quieter to what I experienced before, but I enjoyed a lot being there and talking to my friends. I felt good.
Surely, I noticed that since the start of the program the tinnitus disappeared. It is returning recently from time to time (I do not know why) however it's very soft.
What I have noticed it's the fact the the Sound Therapy music sounds different. Even comparing to the original tracks. When I listen to the classical music during my work in the office I am bored after listening to the same compositions 3-5 times. Whereas I can listen to sound therapy music all the time. Sometimes I would like to listen to something different but it happens after listening to the therapy 6 hours straight and it is not strong desire. Sometimes I feel like I am discovering Sound Therapy music. I'm not sure, but I think I notice other sounds not present there before.
I also feel I was really closed. Even to the music. And I feel it is better now.
2 October 2013
After 3.5 months of Sound Therapy (630 hours)
I have been listening since Thursday (4 days). Interestingly enough, I had the volume on 2-3 because I could just hear it at that level and now I've turned it down to "1" because I can now just hear it at that level (now number "1" sounds the same sound level as "2" or "3" did).
Also, I went out to dinner last night to friends' house and normally I have trouble with dinner table conversations where there is more than one or two people and the only way I can manage is to turn my head to face each person when they speak (sometimes I'm too slow or sometimes people speak over one another and I'm lost!) but last night I did that a bit less than normal once I worked out I didn't need to do it so much. I still missed bits of conversation a couple of times (because what they said didn't make sense so I may have missed an important word here or there) but it was better than it has been in the past.
Debbie B
Melbourne, Australia
9 February 2009
The benefits overall (after 300 hours) were that my tinnitus did decrease in volume and my sleeping improved. Also my hearing seems to have gone back to normal and I can talk to people in crowded places again.
B Boyd
Perth, Western Australia
18 January 2009
Whenever I had background music and a conversation going on at the same time, it was impossible for me to hear the conversation, it was very frustrating. I thought I must be close to a hearing aid for myself at this rate.

I could not stand music very loud at all. It was as if my ears were going to explode from the inside out with the pressure I felt inside them, which would quickly result in a bad headache.

The other trouble I had was when someone spoke to me I would always say; "Sorry, what did you say?" and before they could finish repeating, I would know what they had said. It was like slow-motion delayed action. I read the Sound Therapy book, which made me understand my problem and it was a great relief I can tell you. I wasn't going mad or deaf. Whew!
I have been using Sound Therapy for 6 months now. At first I experienced some sleepless nights (which was not really usual for me). 2 am I'm awake and that was sleep for me done. I'm over that now, I sleep better than I have slept for ten years.
My hearing has improved immensely. I no longer say, 'Sorry, what did you say?' I hear the first time.
Thank you, Sound Therapy. I was quite miserable before, now I am a much happier person. Thanks to the help of Sound Therapy. To anyone that is shy of this, just try it. It's great.
Mrs Graham
Stockton, NSW, Australia

Want more information?

Sound Therapy book

Want to learn more before trying Sound Therapy for your auditory discrimination problem?

The book Sound Therapy: Music to Recharge Your Brain details the history of Sound Therapy and features the story of how Patricia Joudry, who also suffered from Cocktail Party Syndrome, overcame her problems and helped bring Sound Therapy to the wider public.

Updated in late 2009, it includes the most recent updates on related research include neuroplasticity.

Or contact us with your specific enquiry.