Active Listening: the door to communication and consciousness

Auditory neurofunctional mechanics to acquire active listening

“Hearing is the basis of the functioning and starting up of the capacity to listen. Listening has an auditory-mechanical substratum with a neurophysiological base. It is not a solely voluntary act.”

What is listening?

Listening is the capacity to use hearing at a sensorial level and as a driving force in an attentive way, with the aim of learning and communicating, and without it disturbing the emotional level. Listening allows for reality, from emotional neutrality, to be integrated objectively.

Listening serves for more than simply hearing. Hearing is not the same as listening. Hearing is a passive, involuntary and non-selective sense. In listening rests true communication. Listening is true perception and it is active, voluntary and selective. Listening is being present. It is reception. Without listening, there is no correct comprehension and no subsequent integration of the messages received.

The distortions of listening

Listening is disturbed when the brain cannot concentrate on the auditory message to analyse and interpret it, and so cannot manage the emotion that this message can give rise to in a satisfactory way.

The human dimension of listening is a mechanical auditory process that can be rehabilitated and re-educated. Our programs allow the control and recovery of the distortions of listening that people may suffer.

The only possible method to modify human listening, accepted worldwide, is that described and developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis

“Listening is the link between man and his consciousness”  Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis

The Tomatis Method® is based on hearing and the nervous system. On hearing we are taking into account other auditory dimensions that are not audition itself. Hearing is a passive act, non-voluntary and naturally non-selective. However, the capacity to listen is a selective, active and voluntary act. This auditory dimension, from a functional auditory point of view, supposes the good working of a small osteo-muscular complex that is found in the middle ear and behind the eardrum (the hammer, anvil, stapes and their two muscles).

This auditory dimension has played a part in the important process of our humanization. By means of the capacity to listen, we can control our language, we have our control of coordination in equilibrium, we accede to correct communication, we pay attention, we are present, and therefore we activate the consciousness of being, as well as the environment that surrounds us.

Taking it further than the purely functional auditory aspects, we find in the neurosensorial auditory category a complete projection of this function on the Central Nervous System (CNS), which responds to a heard sound in one way, and a listened sound in another. This opens the door to characteristics of the CNS, such as the stimulation of the mielinization, synaptic plasticity and the strengthening of the already established neurosensorial circuits in the two neurological integrators, both the vestibular and the cochlea.

Consequently, according to the research of Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, by rehabilitating and strengthening the mechanism of the middle ear oscilating chain, we are able to otain transformations in language, in statics and kinetics, in communication, in the access to our consciousness and, of course, lead to the stimulation in some areas of the CNS.

Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis also cites the extraordinary function of the auditory cell or the Corti cell which being a ciliate cell and possessing a large quantity of mithocondrias in its cytoplasm, will be a source of energy at a cerebral level.

The application of this investigation reaches various fields of therapy, from the psychopedagogical to the neuropsychiatric. It must not be forgotten that when the human being loses the capacity to listen he/she enters into an anxiety-depressive state and, at the same time, these so frequent pathologies also bring about the loss of this faculty. Therefore, the treatment that is proposed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis will also be a potent tranquilizer and antidepressive.

The so-called “electronic ear”, an electronic complex provided with two canals with changing parameters that carries out a functional rehabillitation of the whole hearing process, is employed.

Taking into consideration that the external emergence of the pneumogastric nerve or vagus nerve is found in the eardrum, it is logical to assume that when the ear suffers a poor adjustment of the eardrum, the response of the vagus nerve will be altered. This anatomical-functional condition of the autonomous nervous system describes a large part of so-called psychosomatic medicine.

Lastly, we must not forget that Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis was a pioneer in the study of the audio-phonatory loop and laterality audition. The control of right hearing-left hemisphere-recurrent right is important for the correct emission of the voice, language at a good level, an agreeable timbre and singing in tune.

View video: What is Tomatis?