Listening | Learning | Development

How It Works

Its action - The Ear’s Schematics

The Tomatis method is a sensory stimulation approach. To understand how it works, look at the interactive diagram below followed by some explanatory information.

The Tomatis Method is a technique of sound sensory stimulation. Sound is transmitted on two pathways, the first by bone conduction caused by a vibration in the upper part of the cranium, and the second by aerial conduction passing through the ear’s auricle.

The sounds used in the devices have been preliminary treated with the Tomatis effect in the Tomatis laboratory, and thus stimulate the entire inner ear, including the parts that positively affect both auditory and motor functions.

The sound propagates first in the tympan, and then by bone conduction, triggering a reflex that contracts and relaxes the two muscles known as the stirrup and hammer muscles. This effect is obtained by means of a perceptual sound contrast (a two-fold alternation of timbre and intensity) intended to 'surprise' the ear. 

As an effect of the vibration caused by the sounds, these muscles will in turn stimulate the parts of the inner ear known as the cochlea and the vestibule. The cochlea is lined with tiny cells called hair cells, whose purpose is to convert this vibration into electrical stimuli. These stimuli will then feed a vast neural network known as the reticular formation, which controls the overall level of cerebral activity. In other words, the cochlea and vestibule energise the brain. We say that it has a function of 'cortical charging'. 

Moreover, the vestibule informs the brain of the tiniest bodily movements and therefore has an effect on rhythm and balance. The coherence of the message that it transmits is thus fundamental. The ear must therefore be effectively stimulated.