Memory, the Brain and Sound Therapy

What is memory

Memory is far more than a necessary tool for daily activities. Our memory gives us our sense of who we are. Our personal identity, life roles and self awareness all depend on memory. When brain degradation sets in and memory is lost, a person can no longer learn, they fail to recognise their loved ones, and eventually forget who they are entirely. Therefore keeping the brain stimulated, firing and well connected is essential to making life meaningful.

The neural network

The neural network can be increased through sensory stimulation. Our neurons, the unique cells that make up the brain, are connected by tiny branching filaments called dendrites, or axons. These connections use both electrical and chemical energy. New connections may be formed each time a neuron fires, so by stimulating the neurons to fire, Sound Therapy actually builds and increases our neural network.

Optimal brain function

Dr Tomatis, the inventor of Sound Therapy, said that the brain requires 3 billion stimuli per second for approximately four and a half hours a day to function at maximum potential. High frequency sound is the most stimulating sensory input because sound registers at all three levels of the brain: the brain stem, the emotional mid brain, and the cerebral cortex or thinking brain. The auditory system is responsible for 85% of ongoing cortical activity. Therefore tuning up this system stimulates and re-charges the brain.

The Right/Left Connection

The right and left hemispheres of the brain are quite independent, joined only by a web of neuronal connections known as the corpus callosum. Because different functions occur in each hemisphere, eg speech in the left hemisphere, spatial judgement in the right, we need good connections between the two to perform well in all areas. Sound Therapy enhances lateral clarity, increasing the efficiency of right left connections. Therefore, listeners often develop new aptitudes in language, coordination or other areas.

A feedback system

The audiologist, Dr George Richards, attributes the success of Sound Therapy to its stimulation of the efferent, or descending auditory pathways. The descending, motor pathways are where the brain tells the muscles what to do. The action of Sound Therapy, via these pathways, enables the brain to retrain the ear muscles to proper function. A true feedback system must have a continuous flow of information that provides maximum tone to the muscles. This steady stimulus, to the middle ear muscles in turn tunes up the entire auditory system. The ear is then able to act as a receptor for the cortically stimulating high frequencies. For more information refer to the book Sound Therapy: Music to Recharge your Brain by Rafaele and Patricia Joudry.

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