Listening is a human trait. We are all born with this ability. Sometimes, a baby’s ears are not working and she has to learn how to listen differently, but she is able to access listening through other forms than her ears. A baby hears easily, but ear infections have slowed his processing system. Still, he is able to listen.
Listening is what he does. He learns from his environment.
We enter life from the quiet of a mother’s womb, hearing the movement of blood and the pumping of the heart and energy a mother gives her baby. We are greeted with a rush of air to breathe outside the womb and voices new to our ears and so many emotions to contend with when the world is new to us. We are in a small body without any training of how to move our limbs or communicate with those older than we are. So we cry to communicate: hungry, wet diaper, pain, tired.
And all the while, we listen. We learn from the new noises we hear, from the hands of those who hold us, from the responses of adults who care for us. These are the communications we have, soothing voices, or loud yelling ones. Picked up and held; left to cry. Every environment differs. Still, we listen and begin to understand we need to respond to what we hear. We make decisions as babies depending on how we are treated by our caretakers.
Many of you know I have worked with the Tomatis® Method now for 28 years. It is a program that uses music to retrain our ears and improve our auditory processing. Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, a French Ear Nose and Throat physician, began his work with opera singers in the mid-1900s. He progressed to their children and many others whose auditory needs were answered by his new creation: the Tomatis method and the Electronic Ear.
I first learned of it when I visited the Tomatis center in Phoenix, and it occurred to me that this method is a way to wake people up, have them become aware of themselves again if they have covered up who they are for years. It proves to be true for those with learning challenges as well as an adult who wants to dive deeply into his or her own thoughts and ideas.
I have had the unique honor to work with a young woman, autistic all her life, who found me and started her path with Tomatis. She knew intuitively that there was another life for her. From the first session she started to open to a new world. She found her voice. She can care for her mother now, clean out the house, ask for counselling help. She is a conscious individual holding a full-time job with a strong voice. She is healing family sibling breaks. This is the kind of miracle that the Tomatis work provides – a chance for someone to hear sound differently, be able to listen anew and find a new life.
How is your listening? Mine is constantly improving with room to grow. And each time I see another person open their ears to listen a new way, I am amazed at the joy that comes.