Therapeutic Listening is a programme that uses sound stimulation in combination with occupational therapy techniques. It involves listening to specifically modulated and filtered music on compact discs over headphones while doing movement activities as recommended by a trained therapist. Sheila Frick OTR designed this programme which is specific to each child. Maximum effectiveness in treatment outcomes is promoted by daily use.
Therapeutic listening programmes can be carried out at home, school or in the clinic with ongoing support from the occupational therapist who is trained in their use.
Therapeutic Listening is a form of sensory integration, which uses sound vibration to stimulate brain processing and promote the integration and organisation of attention, behaviour and movement. The use of filtered and modulated music in conjunction with sensory integration occupational therapy techniques seems to increase the effectiveness of both treatment types.
There is a reported decrease in the time necessary to meet treatment goals in the areas of modulation, balance, physical and social competence, improved focus and attention and language abilities.
How does it work?
Therapeutic Listening stimulates and exercises the vestibular-cochlear system (the mechanism in the inner ear that is responsible for listening and organisation) and the muscles of the middle ear.
The vestibular- cochlear system impacts on a child’s ability to hear and listen.
It also detects sound and the position of the head.
The muscles of the middle ear are important in the development of listening and attention skills.
In some children these muscles did not develop proper movement i.e. contracting and relaxing in relation to different sounds. This may be due to low muscle tone or to early childhood ear infections. This would mean that the child would have a lot of difficulty filtering out human voice and blocking out background noise.
As a result, the child hears everything and is easily distracted or shuts down because he/she is hearing too much information. This has implications for attention, listening, concentrating, communication and learning.
The programme is individualised to each child’s needs, including the type of music and length of the programme. A typical programme can be in place for two-six month periods for initial gains; however many individuals continue past this time frame and find several of the compact discs useful as part of an on-going sensory diet.
Currently EASe, Modulated CDs , Fine Tuning CDs and entry level SAMONAS CDs fall under this use. It is likely with the rapid growth in sound therapy that other products will also be included in the future.
At The Sunflower Clinic, Julie O’Sullivan is a trained therapist and qualified to implement ‘Therapeutic Listening Programmes’.
For more information visit www.vitallinks.net
See also the following presentation for more information: