Published May 4, 2010
auditory system , brain research
Tags: fight-flight, hearing loss, noise induced hearing loss, polyvagal theory, Stephen Porges, stress, stress-response system, The Listening Program, tufts university
The ear serves in part as an environmental monitoring system, sending the brain signals in response to vibrational input to understand the world around us; to move, learn, communicate, adapt, survive and thrive.
The middle ear is the gateway to a neural filtering system that helps us receive auditory information such as human speech and to simultaneously filter out unwanted sound or noise which can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear resulting in hearing loss, hyperacousis, stress, and a host of other problems.
Many recognize the vital connection between the ear and body’s fight-flight response, which is physiologically linked from the middle ear to the vagal regulation system. The polyvagal theory of psychologist Stephen Porges provides a clear understanding of this mechanism. The Listening Program® with bone conduction technology is used in part as a training method to improve the function of this system.
Now a new in vivo study at Tufts University shows for the first time that there is a stress response system within the cochlea (inner ear) that mirrors the signaling pathways of the fight-flight response and protects against noise induced hearing loss. This is an exciting finding that further reveals what a marvel the auditory system is and the critical role it plays in our lives.
Read more about the Tufts study.
A couple weeks ago I trekked to Wisdom House Retreat Center in Litchfield, CT to join in a weekend symposium for the newly formed Sound and Music Alliance (SAMA). This was a weekend like no other as I spent it with 100 of the most influential forces engaged in the intentional use of sound and music. SAMA is a technically a non-profit membership organization, but I feel it is best described as a community in the most real sense. People who care about a common cause, and are willing to invest themselves into the betterment of the community as a whole before their own self interests.
I had the opportunity to reunite with old friends, current colleagues, leaders who I have always wanted to meet, and bright young stars who will help us propel the awareness of the transformative power of music and sound for coming generations. Physicians, pediatric therapists, music therapists, listening therapists, psychotherapists, musicians, product developers, and a host of other specialists shared their vision, ideas, and creative wisdom to envision the future of this diverse field. What is the vision? From my seat in this very wide circle of influence it is clear… the unequivocal acceptance and understanding that the right sound and music can profoundly change your life. That incorporating sound health practices into your daily diet can help you to achieve wellness, happiness, and a longer, more fulfilled life.
There is much more to say, but for now I will share I am truly inspired by that weekend, and as I write listening to a Haydn String Quartet performed by the Arcangelos Chamber Ensemble and recorded by my dear departed friend and former Music Director for Advanced Brain Technologies Richard Lawrence that I compel you to take note of the sound in your life and see its potential to change it for the better.
Please visit SAMA online and consider supporting the work of this fine organization by becoming a member.