by Kavita Kaul, M.S., AuD, CCC-SLP/A
Certified Provider of The Listening Program®
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Communication is one of the most important developmental skills. Every activity of our daily living requires us to be able to communicate. Furthermore, to accomplish all our various activities through the day, robust and integrated neural systems of input and output are necessary in the brain.
The input systems include auditory, visual, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, vestibular, proprioception, and interoception.
The output systems are the fine motor and gross motor systems.
One of the most important aspects of integration of all these input systems is homeostasis. For homeostasis to occur none of the inputs should cause the individual to be either hyper or hypo sensitive to the incoming signals. Homeostasis facilitates the system to demonstrate effective, efficient, and robust output of the various gross and fine motor abilities.
Communication is a multimodal function. The individual expresses both verbally and non-verbally based on processing and integrating the various sensory inputs. While all senses are equally essential for life and living, the auditory sense is one of the most versatile inputs which conquers space, distance, barriers, and time. Auditory senses start developing in-utero, as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Research has shown fetal position changes, and movement, in response to external auditory stimulus. There are cultures, such as in India, where in-utero auditory stimulation via music is considered developmentally very beneficial for the fetus.
There is a plethora of evidence to demonstrate the power of music stimulation on the tonotopic auditory system (relating to or being the anatomic organization by which specific sound frequencies are received by specific receptors in the inner ear with nerve impulses traveling along selected pathways to specific sites in the brain).
Personally, I have used The Listening Program (TLP) to supplement, complement, and facilitate auditory processing skills. The program is frequency specific and includes all aspects of sound that are required for the auditory system to flourish.
Using Waves, a multi-sensory audio system, sound stimulation is provided via air conduction as well as bone conduction. Bone conduction affects both the auditory and vestibular system. The vestibular system maintains balance which helps with physical stability. Physical stability is a very crucial aspect of strong and efficient communication.
The rich stimulation opens the pathways to the brain via both the classical and non-classical routes. The non-classical pathway activation and stimulation connects to the limbic system and decreases emotional reactivity to auditory input. When the emotional system is regulated, memory skills improve, due to the overall calm state of the system. Stimulation through rhythm and cadence also helps with speech and language output.
I have seen significant changes in my patient population including those with deficits in the auditory function, emotional regulation, academic weaknesses, memory issues, speech and language weaknesses, dyslexia, sensory sensitivities and more.
I use TLP in conjunction with auditory skills training. I usually start with at least 15-30 minutes of music listening per day. The Bone Conduction level is slowly increased each session till overall loudness comfort is maintained and the music continues to be pleasing to the ears. The status of overall listening ability is provided by the parent during weekly auditory training sessions. According to the tolerance and endurance level of the individual, I have recommended up to 60 minutes of music therapy (60-minute training may be recommended for those who have already completed 4 cycles of TLP)
Finally, it is prudent to always stay in touch with the parents. Bone Conduction input may be over stimulating to the system at times, it may be necessary to help navigate the settings to recommend a more conducive protocol to facilitate appropriate growth and development of the auditory system.
In conclusion, the use of music-based therapies, such as The Listening Program, has provided anecdotal evidence of improving auditory functions when used in conjunction with auditory training.
Auditory processing is the foundation for communication skills. Communication is the basis for all social, emotional, academic, and functional needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kavita Kaul, M.S., AuD, CCC-SLP/A
Dr. Kavita Kaul completed her graduate and undergraduate studies in India, in All India Institute of Speech and Hearing. She is certified both in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. She received her Au.D degree from the Arizona School of Health Sciences at ATSU Arizona.
She has worked in a variety of settings including Long Term Care; Inpatient and Outpatient Hospitals; and Public Schools. Currently she has a private clinic where she evaluates and treats individuals with Auditory Processing Disorders, primarily school aged children. She has been practicing as a Speech Language Pathologist/ Audiologist since 1989. Dr. Kaul has been using The Listening Program® (TLP) by Advanced Brain Technologies for nearly a decade.
Dr. Kaul’s dual certification in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology is especially helpful in treating and assessing individuals with Auditory Processing Disorders. In her clinic she sees children with a variety of difficulties including reading disorders, autism, stuttering, articulation, language weaknesses, intellectual disabilities, specific learning disabilities, etc. Although auditory processing therapy is a piece of the puzzle of assessment and intervention, it is an integral part. The ‘Sound Foundation’ provided by TLP facilitates and enhances the outcome of other therapies to a great extent.
She is also a co-founder and co-organizer of International Guild of Auditory Processing Specialists. “We are a diverse group of colleagues specialized in diagnostic and habilitative management of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), serving people worldwide. We believe that this is best achieved through professional competence, mutual respect and working cooperatively.” (www.igaps.org).
Dr. Kaul has presented about auditory processing skills to debunk the myths and to promote facts, at the annual conference with IGAPS and at other locations as an invited speaker.