Use It or Lose It

Use it or lose it, we are all familiar with this adage. It is true for the body and true for the brain.

Without sufficient sensory stimulation a child’s brain does not develop as it should. Nor does an adult brain maintain full  functionality as a  result of negative plasticity. The auditory system thrives with the right input and suffers if deprived of sound or overstimulated by noise.

A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that declines in hearing ability may accelerate gray mater atrophy in auditory areas of the brain and increase the listening effort necessary for older adults to successfully comprehend speech.

Hearing aids can be an effective intervention. Another approach to  consider is music listening therapy. This is  neuroauditory training to improve sound brain fitness in part by stimulating the frequency bands where the deficits exist with specially modified music.  There has been good success helping people with mild hearing loss through the use of The Listening Program®. In many cases listeners no longer require hearing aids, because they trained their brain to better understand what it hears (auditory processing).

Many audiologists will share that when patients with mild hearing loss wear hearing aids for a period of time that their auditory discrimination improves on tests without the hearing aids. This is due to the brain now being able to perceive the auditory signal through sound amplification. The increased signal is enough to improve brain processing. In my opinion, a course of The Listening Program should be considered prior to using hearing aids in cases of mild hearing loss, and definitely needs to be used along with hearing aids. This is something proactive that can be done to stimulate the brain so people can continue to enjoy the richness that exists within the sounds of our loved ones voices, music, and nature.

Read more about this study published in the Journal of Neuroscience here.

Results of Pilot Study Published in Journal Music and Medicine Reveal The Listening Program Helps Children With Down Syndrome Improve Speech Skills

Advanced Brain Technologies today announced results demonstrating that a modified music program followed for ten weeks, improved speech skills in children with Down syndrome. The results of the study, conducted in Nottingham, United Kingdom, were published Monday, in an early online before print version of the article scheduled to appear in the journal Music and Medicine(i).

It is well documented that children with Down syndrome have difficulty with hearing, auditory processing and language development. This pilot study was undertaken to trial tests and questionnaires for suitability for use with the children, to determine if any benefit could be established from the use of The Listening Program® as a prelude to a more formal study. The Listening Program was developed by Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT) as a modified music method to improve auditory processing, self regulation and brain performance.

Nine children between the ages of 5 and 12 years took part, acting as their own controls. They used The Listening Program over a 10-week period. Each child listened to acoustically modified music, through headphones, for two 15-minute sessions, 5 days a week, for 10 weeks. A battery of tests recommended by specialists in speech and language and human communication, were performed before and after intervention. In addition, questionnaires were completed at the end by parents and teachers involved.

Although the children only completed half the recommended twenty week protocol due to time constraints, all experienced positive changes in speech and listening. Some made improvements in a number of additional areas. These positive findings are consistent with previous research studies using The Listening Program with children with learning difficulties, auditory processing disorder, and autism; among other issues.  

“There is a great need to have a cost-effective, non-invasive approach to improving speech and language skills in people with Down syndrome,” said Alex Doman, founder and CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies.  “While further study into the impact of The Listening Program is required for this purpose, the pilot study demonstrated this approach could be a very useful tool in improving communication in children with Down syndrome”.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder, present in one of every 800 live births.  

(i)  Jeyes, G., Newton,C. Evaluation of The Listening Program in Assessing Auditory Processing and Speech Skills in Children with Down Syndrome. Music and Medicine August 2, 2010 doi: 10.1177/ 1943862110371809

ABT Symposium 2010

In the summers of 2004-2008 we ran the Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT) International Conference in the beautiful settings of The Canyons Resort in Park City, and Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. ABT providers, customers, professionals, parents and others would travel from the world over for 3 days of lectures, workshops, music, networking, food and friendship.  All of us united through a shared interest in helping people attain all they can in life by improving their brain health and performance.

When the global financial crisis hit we made the difficult decision to discontinue the conference until the economic recovery. And still we wait… While the right decision, we and those accustomed to our annual event have been feeling an immense void.  So, rather than put on the BIG EVENT, we decided to organize 1 day of great presentations, music, and networking at our first ever East Coast Symposium in New Jersey this October.

The ABT Symposium 2010 is taking place at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey on October 24, 2010.

New research on Advanced Brain Technologies neurosoftware and neuromusic programs will be presented. Learn about the Lucker model of auditory processing and his theory about the effects of The Listening Program® (TLP). Discover Learning Ears, Ear-Voice training that works with TLP to improve learning, language and communication abilities. Hear about a TLP brain injury protocol being trialed at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital.Listen to diverse case presentations from practicing ABT providers. Experience live music performances which will demonstrate the effects of live music performance on group dynamics. Engage in a discussion about activity recommendations for listeners. And, Network with other therapeutic and educational professionals.

The focus of this highly anticipated symposium will be new information on research, treatment strategies, and programs for diverse client populations ranging from neurotypical to brain injured.

We have a great line up of speakers including Dr. Jay Lucker from Howard University speaking on auditory processing , music from world renowned artist Nacho Arimany, and much more… Early bird discounts are available for professionals through September 15th, and we have special pricing for students and parents. For those who may be interested in training as ABT Certified Providers of The Listening Program®, you can join us at the same location on the 22nd and 23rd of October for our certification course. Please join us! To register or for more information including a list of speakers, special hotel rates, etc.  please visit ABT Symposium 2010.

New Auditory Channel Identified for Sound Processing

Researchers at the University of Oregon have identified a new auditory channel for sound processing. This is an interesting study that could lead to the development of new treatments that could improve auditory processing with implications for better speech discrimination.  More information is available in the February 11 issue of journal Neuron.

For the full article please visit ScienceDaily.

Webinar-The Listening Program and Autism Spectrum Disorders

If you have an interest in learning more about The Listening Program® method of music listening therapy please join me for a live webinar this Sunday organized by the Akhil Autism Foundation.

The Listening Program® (TLP) is a music listening therapy that provides engaging brain stimulation to improve performance in school, work and life. This introductory webinar is free and will provide an overview of  the auditory system, auditory processing, and how music listening therapy can help improve the life of a child on the autism spectrum.

Date: Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009
Times: USA  11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST (Eastern Standard Time)
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM MST (Mountain Standard Time)
India    9:30 PM – 10:30 PM IST (Indian Standard Time)


After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about the Webinar.

Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

New Autism Study Demonstrates The Listening Program Improves Auditory Skills

A new study in the UK demonstrates The Listening Program® developed by Advanced Brain Technologies improves auditory skills in children with autism.

“A Study to Establish Whether the Use of The Listening Program is Effective in Improving Auditory Skills for Children with Autism” was presented by Gwyneth Jeyes  at the Developmental Practitioners Association Conference “Children Matter” In Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom back in September.

Twelve children on the autism spectrum ranging in age from 5 yrs. 8 mo. to 12 yrs. 4 mo. in Northern Ireland participated in the study. Results from the SCAN-C test for Auditory Processing Disorders demonstrated improvements in auditory skills in all children who completed The Listening Program® method of music listening therapy.

The Listening Program® has been widely used for more than a decade to reduce auditory hypersensitivites, improve auditory discrimination, increase communication skills, and social engagement for children on the autism spectrum. The outcomes of this research are encouraging, consistent with other studies,  and warrant the design of  a larger, controlled study to explore the feasibility of more widespread use of this music listening therapy method to improve auditory processing skills for children with autism spectrum disorders.

To read the full study

Study Demonstrates Effectiveness of The Listening Program® with Bone Conduction on Children with SPD

6 children who present with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and auditory processing concerns with ages ranging from 3 yrs 11 mo. to 8 yrs. 7 mo. 4 of whom were receiving therapy services participated in the study.  Results from standardized testing demonstrated a significant improvement in all children who completed the program, compared to just therapy alone. This demonstrated that The Listening Program® with bone conduction is effective in helping increase functional skills and outcomes in children who present with sensory integration and auditory processing concerns along with skilled therapists to help achieve maximum potential and independence in everyday tasks/skills.

This study was originally presented by John Esteves at the 2008 Advanced Brain Technologies International Conference in Midway, Utah, July 2008.  A summary is in the new book just published by Springer Vienna and New York,  edited by Roland Haas and Vera Brandes Music That Works: Contributions of Biology, Neurophysiology, Psychology, Sociology, Medicine and Musicology ISBN 978-3-211-75120-6

 To read or download the full study please click here.