Sound therapy is one of many treatments offered for the relief of hearing loss, and is valued for its non-invasive approach to a wide range of conditions. The loss of our hearing can be a traumatic, though often gradual, process. It has the potential to affect all aspects of our lives, and can severely impact on our ability to interact with society and secure employment.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is the gradual deterioration of our hearing, often associated with ageing, though also accelerated by external influences – especially exposure to loud noise. Other premature causes can include an infection of the middle or inner ear, while some people are born with a hearing impediment. The ear is divided into three distinct parts - the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear collects sound, while the middle ear transmits any sound to the inner ear. Here it is transformed from mechanical sound into an electric signal which travels up the auditory nerve for processing by the brain. The bones of the middle ear together with the hair cells and nerves of the inner ear are the most susceptible components of our hearing. Surgery can sometimes rectify hearing problems, though hearing aids and implants are often the traditional solution.
For more information see hearing loss.
What is Sound Therapy?
Sound therapy is a process of auditory retraining intended to motivate the brain. It is based on the theory that there is a link between hearing and our speech and learning abilities. The technique maintains that listening is a very different discipline to hearing – which is largely passive and reflexive. If we consciously decide to pay attention to sounds these can help us to repair or retrain our hearing. Sound therapy is typically experienced as an audio program of progressively higher frequency sounds listened to via headphones. The frequencies essentially exercise the muscles of the ear and improve muscle tone, which are often the primary source of hearing deficiencies.
For more information about sound therapy, also see sound therapy for tinnitus.
Sound Therapy Conditions
Sound therapy has been used to treat a wide range of conditions besides hearing loss, including:
- Clogged ears
- Speech problems
- Learning ability development
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Central auditory processing disorder
Sound therapy has also been used in a rehabilitative capacity, after surgery to the middle ear.
Find a sound therapy practitioner in your area on the pages of this site.