The Tomatis Effect
The Tomatis® Method is a technique of sound sensory stimulation. Sound is transmitted, on the one hand, by bone conduction caused by a vibration in the upper part of the cranium, and on the other hand, by aerial conduction passing through the ear’s auricle. (Explanation continues below video and diagramme.)
The sounds we use in our devices have been preliminary treated with the Tomatis® effect in our laboratory, and thus stimulate the entire inner ear, including the parts that affect both auditory and motor functions. The sound propagates first in the tympan, and then by bone conduction, triggering a reflex that contracts and relaxes the two muscles known as the stirrup and hammer muscles. This effect is obtained by means of a perceptual sound contrast (a two-fold alternance of timbre and intensity) intended to “surprise” the ear.
As an effect of the vibration caused by the sounds, these muscles will in turn stimulate the parts of the inner ear known as the cochlea and the vestibule. The cochlea is lined with tiny cells called hair cells, whose purpose is to convert this vibration into electrical stimuli. These stimuli will then feed a vast neural network known as the reticular formation, which controls the overall level of cerebral activity. In other words, the cochlea and vestibule energize the brain; we say that it has a function of “cortical charging.”
Moreover, the vestibule informs the brain of the tiniest bodily movements and therefore has an effect on rhythm and balance. The coherence of the message that it transmits is thus fundamental. The ear must therefore be effectively stimulated.