Auditory Integration Training and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Key Features

Auditory integration training is sometimes also known as AIT, the audio-psycho-phonology approach, auditory intervention, auditory stimulation therapy, auditory therapy, sonic therapy, sound stimulation therapy and therapeutic listening.

AIT is based on the idea that some people, including some people with autism, are hypersensitive (over-sensitive) or hyposensitive (under-sensitive) to certain frequencies of sound.

This sensitivity to certain frequencies is believed to cause a variety of perceptual problems (such as an inability to concentrate or to understand other people). It may also cause other problems (such as irritability or lethargy).

AIT is designed to improve the person’s ability to process sounds by ’re-educating’ the brain. This is done by playing electronically modified music or other sounds in which the frequencies have been changed.

The following section describes the key elements of some of the most well-known forms of auditory integration training.  However, there are many different providers of each type of AIT which means that the same form of AIT may vary considerably from one provider to another.

The Tomatis Method

The Tomatis Method was the first AIT to be developed and each of the other AITs shares some of its characteristics.

The individual attends a clinic or similar venue.  He or she sits comfortably in a relaxed environment.  S/he then listens to modulated sounds through a special piece of equipment called an ‘Electronic Ear’.  The latter has an earphone and an attached oscillator, which allows the individual to hear and feel the sounds at the same time. 

The ‘Electronic Ear’ reduces the signal strength of low frequency sounds and amplifies higher frequencies (800–300 Hz).  The sounds include specially created compact discs of Mozart music and Gregorian chants.

During the passive phase of treatment, that is, when the individual is not actively listening to the modulated sounds, he or she may draw, paint, play games, do exercises that increase their sensory awareness or that improve their balance and coordination. Adults draw, work on a puzzle, meditate, rest, or sometimes fall asleep as they start to relax more deeply.

The Bérard Method

The Bérard method is very similar to the Tomatis method in that the individual has to attend a clinic and has to listen to modulated music using specialist equipment.  It differs from the Tomatis method in that it uses a different machine, tends to be shorter in length and does not have a passive phase of treatment.

The individual has to attend a clinic or similar venue.  He or she sits comfortably in a relaxed environment.  He or she then listens (through headphones) to music filtered through a special machine called an Audiokinetron or an Earducator.

These machines are designed to randomly modulate the amplitude of the high and low frequencies in order to re-train the ears and ‘balance’ the hearing.  The music can be modified by the AIT device in two ways: modulation and filtering.

Modulation involves reducing the signal strength of high or low frequencies (1 KHz, respectively) at random for blocks of .25 – 2 seconds, again randomly selected.

Filtering involves reducing the signal strength of narrow frequency bands around frequencies on the audiogram to which the individual seems particularly sensitive. 

16 Jun 2022
Last Review
01 Jul 2019
Next Review
01 Nov 2024