How Sound Therapy Improves Your Ears
Our ears are vital to more than just our hearing. With 10 of the 12 cranial nerve pairs connected in some way to the ear, our auditory health literally affects our whole body.
Perceiving sound accurately requires the healthy functioning of several parts of the ear as well as the brain. The specific algorithms and activation filters applied to the music in the Sound Therapy International programs stimulate the entire auditory pathway, from the eardrum to the auditory cortex in the brain.
The permanent repair of hearing is due to the gymnastic effect of Dr Tomatis' "Electronic Ear" apparatus used in Sound Therapy. The Electronic Ear presents fluctuating sounds, alternating through high and low channels, so that the ear is forced to constantly adjust between the high and low tones. This gives the ear a complete work-out in the act of listening.
Our ear health also affects our balance, as the vestibular system is part of the ear as well. The fluid in the inner ear chambers is affected by muscle spasms or blockages in the ear. Rehabilitation of the muscles of the middle ear and Eustachian tube, along with remapping the perceptual pathways, can relieve certain forms of ear-related dizziness and vertigo.
Exercising the Muscles
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). Circulation to the area is increased and healing is stimulated.
Audiologist Dr George Richards attributes the success of Sound Therapy to its stimulation of the efferent (descending) auditory nerve pathways. Descending motor pathways are used by the brain to tell the muscles what to do. The action of Sound Therapy, via these pathways, enables the brain to retrain the ear muscles to proper function.
Your arms and legs do not become completely limp when not in use - they maintain a proper tone all of the time (unless injured) because of constant instructions from the brain to the muscles to contract and relax. The ear likewise requires a continuous flow of information that provides maximum tone to the middle ear muscles.
In the same way that regularly working out at the gym tones your muscles, the regular use of Sound Therapy exercises and tones the ear muscles, teaching the ear to recognise and respond to the full range of frequencies.
As the middle ear becomes more responsive, the high frequency sounds gain access to the inner ear and stimulate the cilia, the tiny, hair like receptor cells inside the cochlea.
The Opening of the Ear
On a psychological level, we sometimes close down our hearing mechanism so that sounds we don't want to hear - painful sounds or other unwanted stimuli - cannot penetrate our consciousness.
On a physiological level, this closing off of the ear is achieved by a relaxation of the muscles of the middle ear. Over time, these muscles lose their tonicity. Sounds are then imprecisely perceived and, as a result, incorrectly analysed.
Sound Therapy leads to the "opening of the ear" on both the physical and psychological levels. When the ear "opens", the ear has regained its natural, full responsiveness to sound. This can be gradual or sudden, dramatic or almost imperceptible - the degree of noticeable effect depends on the degree to which the ear was closed off to sound.
The pre-requisites to the ear opening can be any of:
- rehabilitation of the middle ear muscles
- a psychological shift which allows sound to impact the psyche on a deeper level
- rearranging of the route by which sound is conveyed to the auditory cortex so that there is a direct and efficient relationship between ear and brain.
Once the ear has opened, the brain is receptive to the re-charging effect of high frequency sounds. At this point, listening to Sound Therapy music recorded with Tomatis' method will increase your energy levels.
For more information about Sound Therapy, we recommend you read the book "Sound Therapy: Music to Recharge Your Brain" by Patricia Joudry & Rafaele Joudry.
It contains detailed information about how Sound Therapy was developed, how it helps various ear and brain conditions, and stories from listeners around the world talking about their experiences with Sound Therapy.