Topic outline

  • Auditory Integration Therapy





    What is Auditory Integration Therapy?

    Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT) is a powerful educational music programme which may help people with ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, hearing sensitivities, autism, developmental delays, poor concentration, and a variety of other special needs.

    The programme provides stimulation to the hearing mechanism, which produces more normal hearing following treatment. Hearing anomalies can affect many aspects of normal everyday life, especially behaviour, sensitivity to noises in the home, social interaction, speech and language development and learning. Professionals who seek to remediate speech/language and learning delays in their patients also implement it.

    The programme consists of listening to 20 half-hour sessions. Two sessions per day are scheduled for 10 days.

    Overview of Auditory Integration Training (AIT)

    Pioneer Dr. Alfred Tomatis (1920–2001), an internationally known otolaryngologist and inventor, adapted electronically modified music by Mozart to target diverse disorders such as auditory processing problems, dyslexia, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, autism, as well as sensory integration and motor-skill difficulties. His successor, Dr. Guy Berard, also an accomplished Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, developed the current educational approach. Berard believed that behavioural and cognitive problems often arose when an individual perceived sounds in a “differential” manner. This, he said, happens when individuals perceive certain frequencies far more acutely than other frequencies. Sounds thus appear to that person in a “distorted” manner. This often leads to difficulties in comprehension and behaviour. Berard’s objective was to reduce “distorted” hearing and hypersensitivity of specific frequencies, so that after Auditory Integration Training (AIT), ideally all frequencies could be perceived equally well. The individual would than be able to perceive environmental sounds, including speech, in a normal fashion.

    Today, children and adults with learning difficulties, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, autism, and pervasive development delay have benefited from Auditory integration Therapy (AIT). An estimated 20% of the population suffer from distortions in hearing or sensitivity to certain sounds. This can contribute to inappropriate or anti-social behaviour, irritability, lethargy, impulsivity, restlessness, high-tension levels, as well as problems with language and reading. Improvements reported after receiving Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT) include more appropriate affect, expression and interaction; better articulation and auditory comprehension; and an overall increase in academic and social skills.

    Potential indicators of Auditory Problems:

    • Has a history of ear infections
    • Does not pay attention to verbal instructions
    • Is easily distracted by background noises or drifts from paying attention
    • Has difficulty with phonics
    • Learns poorly through the auditory channel
    • Has a diagnosed language or speech difficulties
    • Displays slow response time to verbal stimuli
    • Covers ears to avoid sounds
    • Frequently gives odd or inappropriate responses in conversation
    • Tantrums easily
    • Hears sounds such as aeroplanes, etc. before anyone else, and often runs away from them
    • Avoids eye contact
    • Hums or makes noises
    • Difficulty organising the day
    • Fatigue by end of day
    • Needs constant activity or visual stimuli
    • Difficulty finding the exact words to express themselves

    Who are candidates for Auditory Integration Therapy(AIT)?

    Those who have sensitivity or distortions in the auditory system are candidates for Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT). Symptoms include extreme sound sensitivity, tuning out behaviour and auditory processing difficulties. Those having extreme hearing sensitivity may exhibit the following behaviours:

    • put hands over ears or run from sounds,
    • cry in response to loud sound
    • tune out auditory input, act as though deaf, daydream, attention drifts, or inability to stay focused,
    • avoid noisy, crowded group situations
    • auditory comprehension problems, better at visual learning, fail to follow oral directions
    • need physical prompts to follow verbal commands.
    • respond to only part of a verbal command,
    • easily distracted by random noises,
    • slow response time,
    • language delay or disorder
    • inconsistent performance