Tomatis Method Techniques
The tomatis method has in recent years become a ubiquitous term used by many to describe a technique of auditory stimulation using filtered orchestral music, primarily that of Mozart, combined with the use of bone conduction technology. The Tomatis Method the therapeutic listening approach that was developed by Dr Alfred Tomatis.
So, who was Alfred Tomatis?
Dr Alfred Tomatis (1921 – 2001), was born and raised in France. He graduated as a medical physician, and specialised as an ENT – Ear Nose and Throat specialist.
Early in his career, while treating opera singers, Alfred found that he was able to partially restore auditory perception by stimulating the auditory system with Mozart’s music and using headphones.
He subsequently undertook research in the fields of audiology and phonology.
Alfred called this approach as "Listening". Today his theories on the treatment of disorders of auditory processing and language are known as the Tomatis Method or Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP) and have been widely published by Alfred Tomatis himself in his various publications, and by others, most notably: Paul Madaule (1993), Doriene Davis-Kalugin (2004), Pierre Sollier (2005) and Patrick Dumas de la Roque (2007).
It is important to note that the above publications explain the non-proprietary techniques developed by Alfred Tomatis. This means that the tomatis method approach developed by Alfred Tomatis is non restrictive and can be delivered by anyone with appropriate auditory training equipment to deliver the method.
With the development of micro electronics in the 1980’s, Alfred began a technical collaboration with Christophe Besson to develop a broad range of auditory training equipment. Many examples of systems manufactured by Besson in the 1990s are still in use today by tomatis method practitioners across Europe and America. Christophe Besson continues the technical innovation today of high quality with high definition audio Auditory Training Systems under the name: Besson of Switzerland.
He maintains no relationship with the current Tomatis group or their Tomatis branded products.
FIAPE: Federation International of Audio-Psycho-Phonologists and Auditory Training Practitioners (FIAPE)
Besson’s technology is today at the heart of a global federation of Auditory Training Practitioners – FIAPE – whose aim is to provide clients with the highest standard of auditory training available world-wide.
Selecting auditory training equipment
Across the globe today there are numerous equipment manufacturers offering systems to support the delivery of the tomatis method or other similar orchestral based auditory training programs. In the race to cut equipment costs and to simplify practitioner training, many auditory training systems manufacturers have moved to PC, tablet and ipod style applications. This move to simplify and reduce cost has come at the expense of reduced clinical know how and reduction in technology standards. At the same time, Auditory Training Systems manufacturers such as Besson of Switzerland have continued to innovate and strive to attain the highest quality outcomes.
As there is limited information available comparing the different auditory training techniques, individuals seeking to undertake tomatis method therapy should ask of the practitioner:
Is the system providing dynamic acoustic treatments that modify the sound frequency, timing and volume in real time using studio quality audio, or is the technology a tablet or ipod with pre-recorded tracks?
Is there pre, mid and post program assessment of auditory processing capability using standardised assessments?
Does the system deliver real time filtration, not pre-recorded?
Is the system using high definition 24bit audio?
Does the program have a broad range of dichotic training components?
Does the program have a speech and language component with content suitable for my or my child’s age?
Is the audio-vocal exercises with variable biofeedback loops between the voice and listening?
Why is dynamic real time acoustic treatment of audio tracks so important?
Dynamic real time acoustic treatments, referred to by some as the “tomatis effect”, maintains auditory novelty and thereby in turn its use prevents auditory habituation, which is common when listening to orchestral tracks with pre-recorded acoustic treatments.
Auditory Processing difficulties and assessment processes
Learn more about auditory processing difficulties and how they are assessed at Auditory Processing Disorder website.