– Alfred Tomatis
The flow of sound
There are lots of reasons why the flow of sound can get interrupted. The mobility of the eardrum can be hampered by an infection, the anvil and stirrup can be ‘fused’ together, wax or polyps may be present; or the conversion from sound to electrical signals isn’t functioning properly because of damaged hair cells; these are just a few of the possible causes of impaired hearing.
Some of the more technical defects can be cleared or operated upon and over the last few years some spectacular successes have been achieved. But all these treatments mainly affect the middle ear. Problems with the cochlea, with the inner ear, are much more complex to solve. Yet, solutions are on the way compared to even just a few years ago. There have been some very promising experiments with stem cell-therapy and of course there is also is the option of a cochlear implant.
The influence of environmental stress on the way we hear
Unfortunately the ear does not have the equivalent of an eye lid to block out those unwanted sounds. The draining effect of traffic and industrial noise will take its toll. That is why a few hours in town to do some shopping can be so much more tiresome than a few hours hike in the hills. It’s a different acoustic atmosphere and we intuitively respond to that difference.
Sound affects the nervous system and thus the mind
The ear protects against loud or disturbing sounds by increasing the tension of the middle ear muscles. Those muscles are the switch and monitor which control the transfer of sound to the inner ear and ultimately to the brain. If those muscles are continually encouraged to be tense they may become rigid.
The ear is also a sense of balance- in a multi faceted way
If there is too much strain and on a continuous basis, the perception of higher frequencies will diminish while the lower sounds are augmented. And the opposite can be true as well. In those cases the lower sounds are eliminated and the higher ones accentuated. In psychological terms this could mean that a person might become a bit more accident prone. This is not as strange as you may think, considering that it is the ear that monitors the interaction between body and environment.
It is evident that the ear is much more than a collector of outside information – it is involved in one of the most characteristic of human traits: the ability to communicate.
Any hearing impairment or deafness should at least be treated with great input of energy to the brain in order to avoid a withdrawal process from the world outside and the emotional consequences that might be the result.
Although Listening Training cannot be seen a cure for deafness, this is the value you can expect:
- Stabilization or improvement of hearing deficit
- Better posture and head control
- Improved energy levels
- Overall improved sense of well being