ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) & ADHD (Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder)
In Dr. Tomatis’s view ADD/ADHD is mainly caused by poor sensory integration. It is not hearing capacity, (what ears received) but rather the listening capacity that we address.
The brain to function at its best, need to received the right neuronal signals. If the vestibular system is overloaded with too much information, or it doesn’t process enough information then the loop is disrupt. ADD sufferers therefore “tune-out” to deal with this overload, and ADHD sufferers make up for their lack of stimulation by “stirring things up” with body movements. Improving listening skills is therefore very important in treating these disorders. The Tomatis concept is that ADD/ADHD sufferers are unable to focus, analyze or direct their listening, and when faced with a variety of sounds, will take them all in. Thus they will listen with distortion, which means they will have to work much harder to comprehend. This leads them to tire easily, only being able to listen for short periods. Furthermore, they are unable to sort out, classify and organize the information they are listening to. They tend to lose motivation because no matter how hard they try, they can not understand and therefore become more and more discouraged.
Sounds filtered through the ear are the main source of energy for the brain. However someone suffering from ADD will hear all the sounds as one block of noise and being bombarded with sounds, they will “switch off” as a protection mechanism. The Tomatis auditory training exercises the muscles of the middle ear by using a machine called the Electronic Ear, which helps these tiny muscles to work properly. This is done by playing music: mainly Mozart and Gregorian Chant which, when played through the Electronic Ear, will cause the muscles to stretch to catch the higher frequencies, and then relax during the lower frequency sounds. These muscles are therefore getting a “work-out”. This retraining educates the ear to focus properly on specific sounds and to push into the background other extraneous sounds. This is the key to good listening – one must be able to both, tune in and to filter out information, that is, to smoothly integrate sensory input.
The Tomatis Method also works on an emotional level. Emotional blockages can prevent people from listening. They can become stuck emotionally at a younger age, namely the age at which they suffered the original trauma, preventing normal emotional growth and also good listening. People who are trapped in past emotional problems are preventing themselves from moving forward in their lives. The Tomatis Listening Program will not necessarily take away these traumas but will provide clients with the motivation to put them all behind them, so they are able to take control of their lives.