Hear It For Good Behavior
The principles of Auditory Integration Training (AIT)
are simple and can be described as physical therapy for the ear.
AIT is a method of correcting the root cause of many learning
disabilities. Hypersensitivity, distortions, and delays in the
auditory signals contribute to inefficient learning. AIT is a
method of retraining the ear to listen and to process sounds in
a more normal manner, without distortions and delays. How we listen
and process sounds affects our alertness, attention span, concentration,
information processing, and the way we express ourselves, both
verbally and in writing. When the listening process is not working
properly, it can interfere with our entire system and its ability
Hearing and listening are two quite different tasks.
You may have excellent hearing acuity (i.e. hearing within the
normal range), but have an inaccurate perception of what is going
on around you. Faulty teaming of the ears occurs when both ears
are not working together. Those with faulty teaming of the ears
as well as those with hyperacute hearing and/or sound sensitivities
know that these problems can interfere with the ability to work
and play efficiently and comfortably, and may even cause physical
discomfort and pain.
Hyperacusis and imbalances in hearing between the ears
may lead to a host of behavior and learning problems as well as
have a negative impact on personal relationships.
An intense program of sound stimulation varying in pitch
and intensity (using music and headphones), activates the middle
and inner ear which then transmits sound to the brain via the
auditory nerve. The sound stimulation improves aural flexibility
and enhances the transmission of sound to the brain. In the auditory
system, going from the eardrum to the brain cells, concise zones
exist corresponding to low-pitched and to high-pitched tones.
These parts are not anatomically similar on the eardrum, on the
cochlea, and perhaps in the brain itself. If one or the other
of these areas of the auditory system is stimulated by certain
programmed alternating sounds, the same identical result as that
obtained by mobilization of the elbow is achieved.
When an individual is hypersensitive to an intensity
(volume) and/or frequency (pitch), the auditory system can shut
down. The individual avoids certain sounds, places and situations.
This person may cover his/her ears, "tune out," or display
unusual or socially inappropriate behavior. Similarly, individuals
who hear poorly at certain frequencies or who hear constant ringing
in their ears, can begin to display withdrawn, aggressive or different
behavior in order to deal with their hearing disorder.
There are areas and cells of the brain stimulated by
different frequencies and/or intensities. If these sounds are
not entering the system appropriately, the brain cells will not
be stimulated properly. This will affect the processing of sensory
input. With incorrect input, an individual will have incorrect
output and faulty feedback. When an individual has confused pitch
relationships, high/low pitches are not processed correctly. The
same word spoken by someone with a high pitched voice will sound
different when spoken in a low pitched voice. Children, in particular,
can become confused, and performance may vary depending on the
pitch of the voice.
All of these auditory problems contribute to cognitive
fatigue and variable performance that is so common among children
with learning disabilities and AD(H)D, These children use much
energy trying to decode or translate the scrambled and distorted
messages they receive. Their performance will depend upon the
amount of energy, interest, and motivation they have at a given
times. Other variables such as voice quality, pitch, and rate
of speech delivery of the speaker, background noises, and visual
cues also impact the performances of these children.
Because of the strong contribution of hearing to receptive
and expressive abilities, those individuals who exhibit language/learning
disabilities, attention deficit disorders (ADD), dyslexia, pervasive
developmental delays (PDD), autism, and tinnitus (ringing in the
ears) may be excellent candidates for AIT.
AIT is a technique to enhance the efficiency and normalize
the auditory reception system (ear and brain) by reducing hypersensitivity
and reducing hearing peaks and troughs as measured on an audiogram.
This will improve the sensory input/output and feedback systems.
Indirectly this will also improve listening, attending, cognitive
abilities, behavior, and social skills.