How Sound Therapy Activates Your Brain
The auditory (hearing) system is responsible for 85% of ongoing cortical activity. Tuning up this system stimulates and re-charges the brain.
Dr Tomatis, the inventor of Sound Therapy, found that the brain requires 3 billion stimuli per second for approximately 4.5 hours a day in order to function at maximum potential. High frequency sound is the most effective sensory input to achieve this stimulation because sound registers at all three levels of the brain: the brain stem, the emotional mid brain, and the cerebral cortex ("thinking brain").
- High frequency sounds include natural sounds such as bird song, running water, wind, frogs, and insects, as well as classical music.
- Low frequency sound, such as the hum from electrical appliances and vehicles, has the opposite effect, draining our energy levels.
- It seems that it is the re-establishing of the ability to listen to the higher frequency that is repsonsible for repairing and reorganising cortical (brain) pathways.
- Hundreds of adults report they have been helped with severe depression and have overcome anxiety, caused by diminished hearing and tinnitus, helping them develop better communication skills, creativity and self-confidence.
- George B. Richards Ph.D.
A regular dose of interesting and varied high frequency sound stimulates the cortex of the brain, releasing latent energy and building brain connections. As a result, energy levels are usually increased and new aptitudes are often developed.
Sound stimulus is registered also by the brain stem, the cerebellum and the mid brain or limbic system. This means that it has an effect on our coordination, our sensory integration and our emotional state. Many neurological disorders such as ADD and epilepsy are due to poor integration between different parts of the brain and there is extensive evidence that Sound Therapy may alleviate these problems.
The Right / Left Connection
The left brain hemisphere is our language-processing centre.
The right side of the brain is used for spatial judgment, movement, drawing, music, mathematics and technical abilities.
The right and left hemispheres of the brain are quite independent, joined only by a web of neuronal connections known as the corpus callosum. Because different functions occur in one hemisphere or the other, we need good connections between the two to perform well in all areas.
Sound Therapy enhances lateral clarity, increasing the efficiency of right - left connections. As a result, listeners often develop new aptitudes in language, coordination or other areas.
See also Right Ear dominance
The cerebellum plays a significant role in sensory co-ordination, both visual and auditory, and has been dubbed "the autopilot of the brain". It is an area of the brain about the size of your fist, which sits behind the brainstem at the base of your skull.
Researchers are only now beginning to unravel the deeply important role of the cerebellum. It has been known for some time that the cerebellum was responsible for the management of the body's equilibrium and muscular activity. However, it has more recently come to light that the cerebellum is equally involved in the co-ordination of the sensations of touch, hearing and sight. Sound Therapy researchers now believe that any learning difficulty associated with auditory processing problems is linked to the cerebellum.
Sound Therapy brings about improved function and integration of cerebellar pathways, improving many areas of our sensory and motor function.
Auditory mapping is the patterns we learn to recognize through repeated firing of certain groups of neurons in our auditory cortex.
Sound only makes sense to the degree that the brain can perceive the sounds it receives, and this depends on our auditory mapping. Ear damage, brain injury or head injury can lead to hearing distortions which may result in confused sound perception or tinnitus. This means that the auditory maps are faulty and the brain is not accurately perceiving sound.
The Sound Therapy International programs cause neural firing in complex patterns which engage many different sensory and perceptive areas such as the auditory cortex, hypothalamus, and limbic system. This introduces change, enabling the auditory mapping to become more accurate and useful.
Several brain centres are involved in how we feel and in keeping our moods stabilized.
Music affects our moods through rhythm, melody and harmony. Sound Therapy has great complexity in these three areas, leading to the engagement of various brain centres. Stimulation of certain centres in the left pre-frontal cortex has been shown through EEGs to lift the mood, causing feelings of peace, serenity and optimism.
Sound Therapy is believed to influence responses in the medial temporal lobe system and bring about adaptations of the central nervous system to induce appropriate integration with the limbic system, which is the seat of the brain's emotional responses (Goldstein 2005).
Regular use of Sound Therapy International programs has been found to help resolve emotional memories linked to early auditory experience in the womb or childhood. As the neural pathways are opened to higher frequencies and better sound processing, emotional trauma associated with old models of auditory processing can be released.
For more information about Sound Therapy in relation to learning and development, we recommend you read the book "Why Aren't I Learning?" by Rafaele Joudry.
It deals specifically with learning difficulties including auditory processing problems, and contains other exercises and nutritional changes that can be used at home to help build healthy brain connections..