At the limit of hearing
The French otolaryngologist Alfred Tomatis was the first to systematically investigate the influence of high frequency sounds on the human psyche.
According to his theory, a baby, swimming in an amniotic fluid during fetal development, hears a lot of sounds that become inaccessible to him after birth – mother’s breathing, her heartbeat, voice, noise from the work of internal organs, etc.
This is due to the fact that during the period of intrauterine development, the child’s ears are filled with a fluid that conducts sound much better than air; in particular, high-frequency attenuations in a liquid are much less
To use his discoveries in practice, Tomatis immersed microphones and speakers protected by a film in the bathroom through which the work of the internal organs of a woman was broadcast. Thus, he simulated sound filtering through the mother’s placenta.
On the resulting recordings, most of the spectrum of sounds lay above 8000 vibrations per second. When the recordings made in this way were given regular listening to children with various disorders – dyslexia, autism, and hyperactivity, the changes in their behavior and training were overwhelming. This high-frequency sound, according to the Tomatis theory, evokes a sense of the most archaic connection with the mother.
Such sounds, apparently, affect the most ancient, primordial layers of our memory – the bliss of being in the mother’s uterus, unity with the mother — and awaken in the listener this forgotten feeling of wholeness.
Tomatis’ research and clinical experience led him to conclude that the ear is one of the most important organs that shape the human mind. Before him, most people, including scientists who studied the ear, believed that this organ has one function – to hear. They did not notice that hearing is just one aspect of a much larger, dynamic process in which every cell in the body is involved.
Tomatis discovered that the ear does not just “hear,” but the vibrations perceived by it stimulate the nerves of the inner ear, where these vibrations are converted into electrical impulses that enter the brain in various ways. Some go to the auditory centers, and we perceive them as sounds. Others create electrical potential in the cerebellum, which controls complex movements and a sense of balance. From there they go to the limbic system, which manages our emotions and the release of various biochemical substances, including hormones that affect our entire body. The electrical potential created by sound is also transmitted to the cerebral cortex, which manages the higher functions of consciousness. Thus, the sound “nourishes” the brain, and with it the whole body.
Another discovery of Tomatis was a direct connection between the range of human auditory perception, the range of vibration of his voice and his level of health. – Compare the colorless, weak voice of a sick person and the sonorous, joyful voice of a child! Tomatis has developed a special recording process called “electronic ear”. In this process, either the high-frequency or the low-frequency component is alternately cut out of ordinary sound. When a person listens to such a recording, the muscles of his ear are trained by alternating tension and relaxation; thus expanding the range of auditory perception,
There are many documented studies showing, in particular, that the application of this method enhances creativity, improves memory and the ability to concentrate. There is also a significant improvement in the so-called fine motor skills. As a result, even professional musicians noted a significant improvement in their musical technique and virtuosity of performance. Similar results were demonstrated by masters of various martial arts and professional race car drivers. Currently, there are more than 300 centers around the world providing treatment and training according to the Tomatis method.
In the 50s, the method of electroencephalography (EEG) was developed, which allows recording and studying the bioelectric potentials of the brain. At the same time, it was found that the frequency of bioelectric oscillations of the brain is able to synchronize, under certain conditions, with various rhythmic stimuli, for example, pulses over a weak electric current, light flashes and sound clicks, if the repetition rate of the stimuli is within the natural frequency range of the bioelectric potentials of the brain.