Therapeutic Listening

Therapeutic Listening is an evidence-based auditory intervention intended to support individuals who experience challenges with sensory processing dysfunction, listening, attention, and communication.

Since the auditory system has connections to many parts of the brain, sound is a powerful way to access the nervous system and affect changes at all levels. The music in Therapeutic Listening albums gives the listener unique and precisely controlled sensory information. The music is electronically modified to highlight the parts of the sound spectrum that naturally trigger attention and activate body movement. In addition to the electronic modifications, Therapeutic Listening capitalizes on the organized rhythmical sound patterns inherent in music to trigger the self-organizing capacities of the nervous system.

Clients listen to specifically recorded and enhanced music via headphones as a part of an in-clinic and/or home therapy program. Therapeutic Listening is implemented as part of a home program designed by a trained therapist to suit the unique needs of each client. There are five different series of music, with over 45 album selections, from which therapists can choose to develop a custom therapy program to suit the individual needs of each client.

Practitioners and caregivers commonly report seeing improvements in:

  • Sensory modulation
  • Posture and movement
  • Attention
  • Improved social interactions
  • Increased engagement in the world

...all leading to gains in day to day function and communication.

Therapeutic Listening is organized to empower the practitioner to use clinical reasoning skills to determine the most appropriate album selection for each client based upon the Therapeutic Listening guidelines. The practitioner is able to alter the progression of albums based upon client gains and response to the previous music selection.

This sound-based intervention (listening therapy) was developed using client centered principals to function as an individual therapy tool rather than a predetermined program. Not only can Therapeutic Listening be used as an individual program, it can also be used as a tool to complement other sensorimotor based therapies and other listening programs as part of a sensory diet at home or in the clinic.

This listening therapy program offers therapists a broader range of applications, making it appropriate for a greater variety of clientele. Therefore, Therapeutic Listening serves as a tool to be used with nearly any sensory-based clinical issue.

The music selections consists of an extensive variety of albums and a broad range of modifications that capitalizes on the naturally therapeutic benefits of music that can be appropriately matched to the unique clinical picture of each client.

Changes to expect:

Home/School Changes

  • Improved social interactions
  • Improved communication skills
  • Enhanced ability to focus
  • Ability to make transitions or changes in routine easier
  • Increased engagement in the world
  • Improvements in sleeping
  • Regulation of hunger and thirst cycle regularity
  • Toilet training/cessation of bed wetting
  • Regulation of mood and energy level (overall a happier child, less irritable, less hyperactivity or low arousal)
  • Improved ability to respond to sounds and verbal directions
  • Increased participation in and exploration of playground equipment (swings, slides, climbing structures)

Clinic Changes

  • Praxis and motor planning (coming up with an idea, planning and then completing the task)
  • Decreased fear of movement and fear of heights
  • Improved bilateral motor coordination (coordination between the left and right, the top and bottom, and the front and back side of the body)
  • Improvement in fine motor skills including handwriting
  • Better timing and sequencing of motor skills
  • Improved ability to perceive and navigate space
  • Ability to move on stable and dynamic surfaces
  • Reduction in sensory defensive behaviors (abnormal responses to sensory stimuli like sounds, touch, taste, pain)

Therapeutic Listening may benefit a wide variety of individuals of various ages who might exhibit:

  • Poor attention
  • Difficulties interacting with peers and limited play skills
  • Challenges with transitions or changes in routine
  • Difficulty communicating (both verbal and non-verbal)
  • Struggles with sleep, bowel and bladder control, and eating
  • Trouble following directions
  • Challenges perceiving and navigating space
  • Poor timing and sequencing of motor skills
  • Difficulties with irritability, mood
  • Difficulties with regulating their energy level (i.e. too low arousal or hyperactive)
  • Postural insecurity (fear of heights, playing on playground equipment)
  • Abnormal responses to various sensory stimuli (sounds, touch, taste, pain)
  • Poor praxis and motor planning: coming up with an idea, planning, and completing the task
  • Difficulty responding to sounds and verbal directions

This is not a comprehensive list of individuals who could benefit from Therapeutic Listening.