In the 1950’s, French ENT Dr. Alfred Tomatis created his first listening or auditory training system, the Electronic Ear. He did so in response to the need of an opera singer, who was no longer able to sing in tune. It seems there are opera singers, who sing extremely loudly and cause “professional deafness”, or the inability to hear some of the notes they are attempting to produce. Becuase he observaed that his hard-of-hearing patients tended to mumble, Tomatis theorized that “a person’s voice can only produce the sounds that their ears can hear”. Understanding that Pavlov had trained dogs to salivate on command, Tomatis thought he might be able to train the opera singer’s auditory system and auditory cortex in the brain to once more be able to hear correctly the sounds that were missing from the gentleman’s voice. By having the singer listen to a series of particular bandwidths of music over time, Tomatis was successful in retraining his client’s ability to discriminate pitches that been heard poorly. The singer’s voice was restored.
Then, other opera singers went to Tomatis to tune up their voices. They remarked that, not only did their voices improve, but also their balance, focus, memory, clarity of thought and more. Some of the singers who were parents sent their children to Tomatis to see if they would then do better in school. And they did. That was the beginning of the revolutionary method of auditory training that stimulates the brain for improved cognitive, physical, listening, language, emotional and social skills.
In 1990, Dr. Minson learned of the effectiveness of the Tomatis sound therapy after witnessing the successful treatment of his own daughter for severe dyslexia and depression. Dr. Minson subsequently studied a number of sound therapy techniques before developing his own, Dynamic Listening Systems (DLS), which he integrated into his psychiatric practice. With the advent of digital technologies, Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) was launched in 2007 to provide sound combined with visual, vestibular and movement, which could be used in homes, schools and clinics. The phenomenal utility of auditory training for the remediation of ear, body and brain issues is increasingly being recognized by educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, families and individual users.
With the release in February, 2015 of best selling author Dr. Norman Doidge’s book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, sound therapy is sure to gain more attention than ever. The book, which is about neuroplasticity and therapies that help heal the brain, features iLs in its chapter devoted to sound therapy. Included are iLs case studies about a child with autism, a boy with ADHD and a girl suffering from sensory processing disorder (SPD). Dr. Minson worked closely with Dr. Doidge with regard to how sound therapy affects the brain.
Dr. Minson currently practices psychiatry in Denver, CO, serves as the Clinical Advisor and Advanced Certification trainer for iLs, and presents domestically and internationally on the therapeutic application of sound.