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Therapeutic Listening

What is Therapeutic Listening?​

Therapeutic listening is an “evidence-based auditory intervention intended to support individuals who experience challenges with sensory processing dysfunction, listening, attention, and communication.”

 
How Does Therapeutic Listening Work?
Therapeutic listening works by stimulating the vestibular-cochlear system, therefore enhancing the accuracy of the sensory information that this system sends to its multiple neural pathways within the nervous system. 
The vestibular-cochlear system was the first to develop in utero and provides a foundation for space and time organization for all other sensory systems.
The digitally altered soundtracks are played through specialized headphones and sets up the nervous system, preparing the ground for emergent skills. 
 
The music causes the muscles in the middle ear to contract, helping to discriminate and modulate sound input. In addition, there are tiny bones in the middle ear that vibrate when sound is provided, stimulating the movement (vestibular) and hearing (auditory) sensory receptors in the inner ear. 
 
This sensory information is sent throughout the central nervous system causing a multitude of reactions and improving the integration between the brainstem and the limbic system which in turn improves posture, balance, coordination, integration of both sides of the body, visual-spatial skills, emotional regulation and motor planning.

What are the Benefits of Therapeutic Listening

Modulation/Self-Regulation

  • Improvement in sleep/wake cycles

  • Reduction of sensory defensive behaviors

  • A smoothing out of mood variance and arousal state

  • Improvement in toilet training, especially over the age of 5-years-old

  • Increased regularity of hunger and thirst cycles

  • Improved focus and attention

Postural Tone/Postural Attention

  • Establishment of body midline

  • Ability to sustain active posture on stable and dynamic surfaces

  • Improved co-contraction around shoulders and hips

  • Active use of rotation in movement patterns

Motor Control

  • Use of bilateral motor patterns

  • Emergence of praxis

  • Improved articulation

  • Improved fine motor skill

Spatial-Temporal Organization

  • Improved timing of motor execution

  • Improved timing of social interactions

  • Discrimination of dimensionality and directionality of spatial concepts

  • Improved ability to maneuver through space

  • Improved handwriting and visual-motor skills

Communication

  • Greater range of non-verbal communication

  • Non-verbal communication matches communicative intent

  • Greater emotional expressiveness

 

Frick S. (2000).  Listening with the Whole Body

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