Holistic Learning Center | New York

Listening Therapy



Listening Therapy uses sound in combination with sensory integrative treatment techniques, emphasizing vestibular activities and directed towards integrating functions of the vestibular structure and the outcomes they support. Listening Therapy selectively combines a number of electronically altered compact discs, based on the ideas and the technology created by Alfred Tomatis, Guy Berard and Ingo Steinbach, within a Sensory Integration frame of reference. These discs vary in musical style, quality of sounds and level of enhancement. The programs are individualized to address each child’s specific issues. The choice of music and type of modulation, as well as listening time and accompanying individualized activity program varies depending on the treatment goals of each child.

A child may be very active while listening, working on suspended equipment, and three dimensional surfaces, which further challenge postural organization, motor planning, and higher level sensory integration skills. The use of sound and music is so intimately connected to movement that children on listening programs are often compelled to move and explore the environment in new ways. Sound is a powerful way to access both portions of the vestibulocochlear system. This system works to process sensations of movement and sound. The vestibular portion orients the body to place, while the auditory portion localizes sounds and assists in navigating through space. Time is another related aspect of space which is perceived by this system. The vestibular portion perceives the temporal aspect of movement, while the auditory portion perceives the temporal aspects of sound. The vestibular cochlear system plays a significant role in the perception of time and space that underlies the organization of sensory motor functions and form the basis for perceptual organization.

Current clinical work suggests that Listening Therapy decreased the time necessary to meet treatment goals. When incorporated into a Sensory Integrative treatment approach, changes are typically observed in:

Attention, organization of behavior, self regulation, development, refinement and mastery of postural and motor skills, bilateral motor patterns, articulation, emergence of praxis, and fine motor skills.

In addition, improvements are seen in spatial temporal organization impacting on handwriting and visual motor skill, timing of motor execution, improved timing in social interactions, and discrimination of the dimensionality and directionality of spatial concepts. Since many of these skills support communication, improvements are seen in many components of communication, such as a greater range of nonverbal communication, greater emotional and verbal expression and improvements in pragmatic language.

A typical listening program should be done twice daily for 30 minute intervals, for 2 to 16 weeks.  The time frame between daily listening sessions should be three hours.  Since this is a home program the basic equipment needed includes CD player, headphone, and CD’s.

The CD’s for each individually designed listening program are ordered from the supplier through the Holistic Learning Center. We stock a library for our clients to use, and CD’s are borrowed from the library and used for the duration as decided by the interventionist.  Once the goal of each CD is met, a new CD will be recommended and the first CD will be returned to us.  Damaged CD’s need to be replaced at parent expense, but CD’s that are returned in usable condition are given to you at no extra charge.

Appropriate headphones can be ordered from the supplier through the Holistic Learning Center. These headphones are good quality with high resistance or impedance of at least 150 Ohms and a frequency sensitivity to 23,000 HZ. They are circumaural with an open ear system. This creates enough space around the ear to allow sound to travel through an air cushion to keep the sensitive portion of the inner ear from being overwhelmed. The open ear system maintains appropriate perception and auditory-figure ground.

Most portable CD players are adequate. The required features include random or shuffle play (to ensure the random nature preferred), battery operated to decrease electrical noise, and a hold button to keep the CD’s playing if buttons are pressed.

The charge for Listening Therapy is an additional $10.00 per session above the cost of the concurring treatment. On the day of the child’s scheduled appointments they will participate in listening therapy to consistently evaluate the child’s progress and make adjustments in appropriate listening time and music. The additional costs vary depending upon whether you already own a CD player and a tune belt ( so that your child can run and play while listening with the CD player attached around his/her waist), as well as whether you want to own your own CD’s or become part of our CD lending library.

Currently, all in-clinic staff is trained in this treatment, and Susan Varsames has her advanced training and uses additional discs for refinement and specific targeted goals. Please call for further information or to make an appointment.