The Tomatis listening program

Listening Programs at the Tomatis Institute
A person coming to a TOMATIS Center for the initial visit is asked first to complete an Audio-Psycho-Phonological Assessment or BAPP (Bilan Audio-Psycho-Phonologique). This assessment lasts approximately one and a half hours.
The BAPP includes the following:
  • An anamnesis or personal history of the individual
  • A certain number of tests (laterality test, listening test)
  • An in-depth consultation for the purpose of clarifying the motive that prompted the client to initiate this process ( problem to address, objective sought) as well as the listening potential of the individual
The BAPP, thus, will enable us to assess the listening potential, to determine any malfunctioning of this potential and to evaluate the motivation of the individual (or of the family when a child is the client). It is indispensable in determining if audio-vocal training is advisable.

The audio-vocal training program will depend upon the nature of the problem to be addressed; the number and frequency of listening sessions mediated by the Electronic Ear will differ from one person to another, according to the re-educational goals decided upon. Throughout the program, tests, mini-tests, and consultations take place at regular intervals and track the progress of each client.

A provisional budget is established the day of the BAPP. The cost of the program may be financed, in whole or in part, by certain insurance companies or by a training organization.

The training program is made up of a certain number of listening sessions, each lasting half an hour. In order to be most effective, these sessions are rather closely scheduled together. At the beginning, the listening sessions often take place every day or at least several times per week, typically for two hours per day. Several training programs may be necessary. These are shorter than the initial program and come after a pause of several weeks.
The listening sessions are called either "passive" or "active".
  • During passive sessions, clients can simply relax and allow themselves to be transported by the desire to listen. They may listen while drawing, for example, in which case the hand, directed by the vestibule of the ear and by the thought processes as well as stimulated by high frequency sounds, will visually express some memories and become creative in the use of form and color.
  • During active sessions, clients repeat words and sentences in a booth. In both cases, whether recorded sound or repeated words, the sound is processed by an Electronic Ear designed to produce the TOMATIS Effect and delivered through a headset that contains earpieces for transmitting sound through the air and a vibrator that permits sound to be conducted through the bones.
The listening material is carefully prepared in our own laboratory. It is basically composed of the following:
  • the mother's voice filtered in order to enable the client to immerse himself once again in the intrauterine universe, the source of the desire to listen
  • children's songs
  • the music of Mozart, especially those works that are the richest in high-frequency overtones and are, thus, energy producing
  • Gregorian Chant, the rhythm of which is soothing
Outline of a typical audio-vocal training program using the Electronic Ear in a TOMATIS Center
  • BAPP (Audio-psycho-phonological assessment)
    • Length: one to two hours *Adult alone or child accompanied by parents
    • Personal history
    • Tests
    • Interview/consultation
  • First program of listening training
    • Length: 15 days *two hours per day (four half-hour listening sessions)
    • mini-tests and consultations within the session
    • test and evaluation at the end of the session
  • Subsequent training programs
    • after a pause of three to six weeks
    • Length: 8 days *two hours per day
    • test and evaluation at the beginning and end of the session
Adjustments may be made to this typical program in certain cases; even so, it must be kept in mind that audio-vocal training mediated by the Electronic Ear must allow the client to utilize his listening potential to the greatest extent by enabling him eventually to function on his own; that is, not only to maintain his skills but also to continue to progress without retraining. This autonomy can be achieved only by a conditioned audio-vocal reflex, and intensive listening sessions are necessary in order to produce this reflex. Concentrating the listening sessions within a short period brings about better results and thus represents a considerable saving of time in the long run.

Also, during the sessions, the careful monitoring made possible by the tests and interviews enables the consultant to evaluate progress. The individual, or the parents in case of a child, may discuss his experiences and take advantage of these interviews by asking questions that will enable him to understand better what is happening during the listening sessions mediated by the Electronic Ear. Similarly, judicious advice may be offered in order to facilitate the client's opening up to family and within social relationships.

In certain cases, a recording of the mother's voice may be found to be necessary, primarily for children and adolescents, but sometimes also for adults. The recorded voice will be treated in a laboratory in order to be presented to the client under conditions close to those existing in a liquid environment, that is to say, those experienced "in utero". In many cases, this important phase reawakens the desire to listen and, therefore, facilitates the audio-vocal training. The mother's voice is recorded before, or at the beginning of, the first session.

Finally, when the client is a child, it is usually desirable for the mother at first, or the father at the time when the language phase begins, to engage in some companion listening sessions. This companion listening will serve the purpose of helping parents understand what audio-vocal training with the Electronic Ear is like while at the same relieving the stress they may have experienced because of the child's problem. Further, the child himself accepts the listening sessions better when he feels that he is accompanied by his parents; consequently his progress is faster and more obvious.

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