Here are the questions most frequently asked about the Tomatis Method:
What are the most obvious results of the Tomatis Method with respect to children?
The most apparent results are often reported to the Tomatis consultant by parents, who frequently notice an improvement in:
- voice quality (spoken and singing)
- ability to communicate
- reading skill
- oral and written expression
- motor skills
- better sense of rhythm
- increased self-reliance
- general behaviour (calmness, openness, etc...).
The observable results of the Tomatis Method must be analysed on two levels, one rather superficial and the other deep-rooted.
On the superficial level, a number of apparent results can be perceived rather quickly, within a few weeks or even a few days following the onset of listening sessions with the Electronic Ear. For this reason, the Tomatis Method is often experienced as a dynamic procedure that is easy to perceive both by the individual who is benefitting from it and by his/her close associates.
At a deeper level, it must be understood that the restructuring brought about by the Electronic Ear allows the individual to recover his or her own inner balance and thus to modify, in the best sense of the term, his/her own value system; this in-depth development is less spectacular and takes place at a slower pace.
One of the important points, then, is to recognize that these improvements will not only be maintained over time but will also continue well after the end of a Tomatis listening program. A well-conducted listening training program with the Electronic Ear will produce results lasting several years, the individual having been repositioned into a state of evolving normalcy that only a major new event would be able to counteract. In such a case, a simple short booster program in a Tomatis Center is often all that is necessary to reestablish equilibrium and restart continuing improvement.
Are the gains made during a Tomatis program lasting?
Yes, progress made during a Tomatis program lasts.
This is because the gains made are not due to a conditioning but rather to a restoration of balance. Indeed, even though the reasons for seeking help from the Tomatis Method are many and varied, all are related to a malfunction and thus to a more or less severe state of neurophysiological disequilibrium. Ear training with the Electronic Ear will, therefore, tend to lead the individual back toward a state of equilibrium, which, because it is a normal state, requires much less effort to maintain than a more or less severe state of disfunction.
We can therefore state that, in the great majority of cases, not only are gains made by the individual during the program maintained but also that progress may continue once the developmental process has been restored to its normal state.
At what age does the Tomatis Method produce the best results?
Although the Tomatis Method is effective under any circumstances, there are certain conditions that may facilitate or impede the improvement that it produces.Thus, depending upon the nature of the problem, youth may be a facilitating factor; this is particularly the case when the problem is situated at the language level or the psychomotor level, or when it relates to scholastic performance.
On the other hand, in the case of older individuals (adolescents and adults), personal motivation can often help overcome the difficulty associated with longstanding problems. In fact, there is no real age limit with respect to improvements that may be attained by using the Tomatis Method. Experience shows that, in the great majority of cases, good results can be achieved by individuals of all ages, whether children, adolescents, adults or the elderly.
Can the Tomatis Method be dangerous?
No, because the Tomatis Method is not a treatment in the medical sense of the term.
Even though it is used by specialists in the domains of medicine and related fields (paramedical), pedagogy, sports, and the arts, it is never used as a substitute for techniques specific to their area of expertise but rather as a complement, when appropriate, to reinforce the effectiveness of their own techniques.
In fact, the Tomatis Method simply fosters, in a gentle manner, a return to normalcy, without ever producing a state of trauma or disequilibrium. The individual recovers his/her own normal state, which has the twofold advantage of soothing him/her and of allowing him/her to maintain, without further effort, the improvement made during listening training with the Electronic Ear.
How are the results evaluated?
The client takes a listening test, followed by a discussion with a consultant, at the beginning of the program. Another test is administered during the course of the program (about every 15 hours on average), again follwed by disussion. The process is repeated at the end of the program.
The discussion allows the consultant to collect information and impressions from the client, or from the parents in the case of a child, and to explain what is happening according to the analysis of the listening test and the reported experiences of the client (or parents).
The listening test can, in certain cases, be complemented by a battery of other tests; however, when used alone, it can provide precise and objective information concerning functions of the ear such as the analysis of sounds, auditory laterality, the localisation of sound in space, and adaptability to the surrounding sonic environment.
How long does the average Tomatis program last?
The length of a Tomatis program varies according to the difficulty of the problem to be addressed.
That said, the listening program with the Electronic Ear should be of limited duration if at all possible, the goal of the program always being to enable the individual to progress as quickly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance.
For example, the number of program blocks in a Tomatis Centre rarely exceeds three or four, the first block consisting of two hours per day for 15 days and the following two or three consisting of two hours per day for 8 days. Each block is followed by a period of integration during which the individual does not do any listening training. Thus, generally, there is a space of three to four weeks between the first and second block, a space of two to three months between the second and third, and six months between the third and, if necessary, a fourth block.
What is the relationship between the Tomatis Method and the CDs that make reference to it?
Numerous references to the Tomatis Method are made throughout the world, because its fame reassures the buyer. Unfortunately, the products that are sold often have only the remotest relationship to the work of Alfred Tomatis.
The CDs that refer to Tomatis are often nothing more than compilations of musical works, more or less well put together, which are unable to produce the effects of the Tomatis Method since the listener cannot benefit from the functioning of the Tomatis Effect Electronic Ear.
The Electronic Ear has very specific operational features, including a gating system and sound conduction through both air and bone, which have an impact on listening attentiveness, on auditory laterality, on the localisation of sound in space, on latency time, on sound discrimination and, finally, on the audio-vocal loop.
Can the Tomatis Method be combined with other therapies?
Yes, and in certain cases such as the following, this may prove to be advisable:
- It may be that an individual is already in therapy and his/her therapist, cognizant of the Tomatis Method, is aware of the positive effect that listening sessions with the Electronic Ear can produce;
- It may be that a Tomatis consultant decides that there is no conflict with the client receiving support from another therapy and advises the client to wait until the effects of the listening sessions have been assimilated before beginning the other therapy;
- Finally, it may happen that the Tomatis consultant spots a problem that should obviously be addressed by a different therapy, in which case, from the time that the problem is identified, he will advise the client to consult another therapist, whether the problem is spotted during the course of a listening program or before any training with the Electronic Ear has taken place.
In fact, in such cases, the Tomatis Method acts as a technique that facilitates the effectiveness of other therapies. This being the case, there is neither incompatibility nor competition with other therapies but rather support by effectively accelerating their progress. Numerous professionals are aware of this and choose to work either in conjunction with Tomatis specialists or to take the training necessary to be able to apply the method themselves and, thus, to increase the effectiveness of their own professional tools.
Why are the listening sessions done in an intensive manner?
In order for the brain's mode of perception to change, it must receive information repeated frequently at a sustained rhythm during a restricted time period. This exercise, like any other, whether mental or physical in nature, brings about a true de-conditioning that allows the body to discover that it can operate differently and that henceforth a choice is possible.
Even though this rule of intensive listening sessions is valid for everyone, the effects may be somewhat different according to the nature of the problem to be adressed, the age of the individual, his or her motivation, the time available to him or her, etc.
The norm is to do two hours of daily listening during an initial block of 15 days. Afterwards, the listening sessions - limited in any case because the Tomatis Method discourages a state of dependency - rarely continue for more than eight days and are spaced over several weeks.
Why have pauses?
Just as the brain needs intensive and repeated stimulation in order for change to take place, it also needs periods of non-stimulation in order to structure and integrate the change. This principle holds true for all kinds of training, integration taking place during a phase of apparent passivity after the effort has terminated. It is, in fact, a phase of assimilation. Stimulation represents a disturbance of our organism; we must thus allow it resting time during which assimilation can take place.
That is why the normal procedure consists of an initial block of 15 days of daily two-hour periods of auditory stimulation with the Electronic Ear, followed by other eight-day blocks, generally limited in number given that the goal of the Tomatis Method is always to lead the individual as rapidly as possible to a state of optimal self-reliance. The first two blocks of the program are spread over three to four weeks, then two to three months go by between the second and the third blocks, then six months between the third and, if needed, fourth block.
Why use the music of Mozart?
After numerous trials with other types of music, we have found that the results obtained by using Mozart's music are amazing, no matter where in the world it is evaluated. In fact, we note that this music is not only very well accepted on every continent but that it also allows listeners to reestablish their own inner equilibrium. In order to understand this effect upon the sense of human balance, we must recall that music is characterised by rhythm, which touches the body, by harmony, which reaches the emotions and by melody, which calls upon the intellect.
According to the classical ideal, these three parameters should be in balance, which is rarely the case, one or the other often being dominant and, for this reason, producing a rather unusual musical discourse. In the case of Mozart, it seems that this balance was achieved, which may explain the universal character of his music.
Why use filtered music?
Filtering up to around 4000 hertz permits the brain to orient itself toward the acoustic analysis of specific zones; listening to sounds that are even more filtered corresponds to a pre-natal experience, which does not, however, mean that the fetus does not hear low frequency sounds.
According to Alfred Tomatis, if the ear is functional so early in fetal development, it is because its role is to energise the developing nervous system. It was in order to take advantage of this primordial competence of the ear during the prenatal phase that Alfred Tomatis decided to use filtered sound, the latter relieving the ear of its function of sound discrimination.
Moreover, given the physiology of the inner ear, high frequency sounds produce a much greater stimulation of the nervous system than do low frequency sounds; indeed, the ciliae, or hair cells, that receive sonic stimulation are much more numerous in zones intended for the reception and analysis of high frequency sounds than in those designed to receive and analyse low frequency sounds.
Will the Tomatis Method help in the case of hearing loss?
The Tomatis Method does not improve hearing in the case of an irreversible lesion; however, whatever the situation may be, it does foster optimal use of the individual's listening potential, regardless of how weak it may be.