The human auditory system provides
us with vast amounts of information about the world around us. Auditory
information travels through the central nervous system.
Your ears are in charge of collecting
sounds, processing them, and sending sound signals to your brain http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/body/brain_noSW.html.
The whole brain is a crucial part of the auditory system.
The auditory system has lower and
higher levels of function. The auditory and vestibular systems are
intimately connected. The receptors for both are even located in the
same area of the skull, the temporal bone. These systems deal with
gravity and vibration. The higher functions deal with the ability
to process information that is heard. This includes auditory memory,
auditory sequencing, auditory discrimination, auditory figure-ground
and auditory perception. Central auditory processing is a physical
response which includes the ability to perceive degraded auditory
signals, competing auditory signals, figure-ground and discrimination
Auditory integration is one facet
of what audiologists call central auditory processing. The simplest
definition of central auditory processing, or CAP, is University of
Buffalo Professor of Audiology Jack Katz's, which is: "What we
do with what we hear." Central auditory integration is actually
the perception of sound, including the ability to attend to sound,
to remember it, retaining it in both the long- and short-term memory,
to be able to listen to sound selectively, and to localize it. Distortions
in hearing or auditory processing can contribute to behavioral or
learning disorders. Hearing can be disorganized, erratic, asymmetrical,
hypersensitive, or otherwise abnormal.
The vestibulocochlear system informs
us of sound, movement and orientation of space. The cochlear portion
of the system turns sound or vibration into electrochemical messages
that are relayed throughout the central nervous system and is critical
to auditory processing. The vestibular portion serves to provide stabilization,
influences attention and arousal, posture, movement, thus being critical
to sensorimotor integration. It is the integration of our senses that
allows us to understand what we are experiencing in our world. So
it makes sense that a program that would stimulate and help to integrate
the cochlear and vestibular systems might be very helpful for anyone
having sensory integration and learning difficulties.
Auditory processing issues are one
of the most common sensory processing problems and often include extreme
hypersensitivity to sound, pitch discrimination issues, and sequential
processing difficulties that impact receptive and expressive language,
cognition, and social skills. Because the difficulties lie in the
processing, in some cases a child may tune out and even act as if
deaf, yet their hearing tests in a normal range.
In children, auditory problems may
be identified by speech and language problems, sensitivity to sounds,
poor attention, difficulty following directions, difficulty expressing
oneself, difficulty with listening comprehension as well as reading
comprehension, difficulty with social interactions, or auditory self-stimulation,
such as constant humming or self-talk. Children who have had a history
of ear infections or chronic middle ear fluid are at a higher risk
for having difficulties in auditory perception and processing.
In adults, auditory problems may
manifest as difficulty retaining auditory information, inattentiveness,
and sound sensitivity, or speech/language and voice concerns. For
individuals who have hearing loss, an auditory stimulation program
is important to aid in improving the functional use of their hearing.
So although actual hearing levels may remain the same (as indicated
on an audiogram), sound stimulation therapies may help to train the
individual's listening skills so that existing hearing may be used
A person's ability to listen affects
all language development for that person as well as every aspect of
self-image and social development. We, at Brainbreakthrough work with
the whole person – the emotional as well as the physical to
enhance well being.