by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man wrote:
I was browsing on a website and want to know whether what it said about sound therapy is true. The website said that:
‘The Sound Therapy Program is a rehabilitation of the inner ear muscles, thanks to high frequencies.
It can help in all ear disorders as:
· Hearing loss
· Meniere’s disease, vertigo and dizziness
· Cocktail party syndrome (difficulty hearing in noisy places)
· Noise sensibility (hyperacusis)
· Short term memory loss
· Language disorders (dyslexia, stuttering)
· Learning (ADD, ADHD, autism, Down’s syndrome)
· Sleep disorders
· Brain damage (accident, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)’
The above “blurb” came from near the bottom of the web page at http://www.sound-therapy-solution.com/ [no longer there]. It’s quite an impressive list of conditions that sound therapy is supposed to cure, isn’t it?
You are right to be cautious, and want to know whether it is real, or just a bunch of hype.
I’m not an expert in sound therapy, but I have investigated and written about it in the past, and even have the sound therapy tapes myself so I know a bit about it.
First, let me say that the above blurb is somewhat misleading (just like much of the advertising today is). Yes, sound therapy does work for all those conditions to some degree or other for some people, but no, is is not the cure for all those conditions for everyone.
If sound therapy did indeed work for everyone and cure hearing loss or tinnitus, then everyone would be using it, As a result, no one would need hearing aids or have tinnitus anymore—and we know that is not true. Thus, you have to understand what sound therapy realistically can and cannot do for you.
Sound therapy is indeed a valid treatment for certain conditions, especially for children with learning disabilities, ADD, autism and related conditions. In fact, this is where sound therapy excels.
One lady just wrote me and stated, “I have seen incredible results in all 3 of my children with special needs from listening [to sound therapy music using an] 80 GB iPod with bone conduction headphones.”
This lady is now herself a sound therapy practitioner. When I asked her how it had helped her tinnitus, she told me that although she had been using sound therapy on herself for the past 9 months, she hadn’t seen any difference in her tinnitus. This reinforces my point that sound therapy does not work for everyone, not even for some firm believers in the program. On the other hand, it does work miracles for some people. Thus, you really can’t know if it will work for you unless you try it.
I found, that with my particular reverse slope hearing loss, listening to the tapes grated on my nerves, so this therapy isn’t for me either.
In general, for the average person with conditions such as hearing loss, hyperacusis, tinnitus and Meniere’s disease, I don’t think sound therapy by itself has a very high success rate. However, if you have certain particular variations of the above conditions, for example, certain conductive hearing losses rather than sensorineural hearing losses, then sound therapy can do amazing things.
Sound therapy is simple to use. It consists of listening to special tapes/CDs/iPods of classical music that have been specially electronically altered to give your ears a “workout”. You can listen while you are working or relaxing.
Sound therapy was developed by French ENT, Dr. Alfred Tomatis in the early 1970s, so it has been around for about 40 years.
Another doctor, Guy Berard made some modifications to the sound therapy program and called it “Auditory Integration Training”. He brought this program to the USA in 1992.
The mother and daughter team of Patricia and Rafaele Joudry made yet another variation to the sound therapy program and explain it in their book, “Sound Therapy: Music to Recharge Your Brain”. It explains how to listen, and what benefits you can expect for conditions such as tinnitus, fatigue, insomnia, stress and anxiety, hearing loss, sound sensitivity (hyperacusis), dizziness, Meniere’s syndrome, jet lag and learning, memory and concentration problems.
Rafaele also authored, “Triumph over Tinnitus”. This book explains sound therapy’s role in helping people with tinnitus. You can get these books through her Sound Therapy International website.
Sound therapy is one of the many tools you should have in your “ear repair” toolbox, and take it out and use it when appropriate. If it works for you, great. If not, put in back in your toolbox and try another “tool”.
You can read more about Sound Therapy, Auditory Integration Training and Biomental Home-Retraining Therapy and how they specifically apply to tinnitus in my book, “When Your Ears Ring! Cope With Your Tinnitus—Here’s How“.
If you have tried sound therapy or one of its variations, I’d love to hear how it worked for you.