While making art is not essential to healing the ear, it is important for integrating the ear’s healing with the other senses: sight, touch, and smell and the interior awareness of movement (kinesthetic sense). Daniel did a great many drawings during his illness and he colored circular and other geometric designs from Pat Kelley’s website. Pat offers these designs free from her website http://www.papermandalas.com/“>http://www.papermandalas.com/ . Please observe Pat’s copyright notices; you need special permission to publish her designs someone has used as collaborative art. Pat has graciously allowed me to reproduce her designs that Daniel completed with his coloring. Those collaborative works of art provided important documentation of the extent of healing in Daniel’s right ear and of the speed of integration of his cerebral hemispheres. They revealed that the same maturational process that occurs in childhood over 10 years was taking place in his brain over 10 months. I document and describe Daniel’s artwork in my monograph Hemispheric Integration and the Ears, available at: http://www.northernlightbooks.ca
1. We use equipment for playing CDs with a plug for headphones: a stereo player or CD player or computer.
2. We use ordinary headphones from our local big box store or electronics store. The kind that cover the ears reduces ambient sound and focuses sound on the ear(s). The idea is to transmit high-frequency sound, so avoid any headphones that advertise their excellence for low-frequency transmission. Do not use earbuds because they place the sound too close to the eardrum.
3. We use a few CDs of classical violin music. The music with the high-frequency sound that effectively stimulates the middle ear includes Mozart’s violin concertos, Bach’s music for the violin, and Vivaldi’s music. The speed of their compositions gives the stapedius muscle the best level of workout. I use a chamber music rendition of R.E.M. music my son gave me that is excellent for its dissonant high-frequency sound; it works wonderfully for me. I have several CDs of the Canadian violinist James Ehnes of which his “French Showpieces” CD has some spectacularly high, high-frequency passages.Once you become aware of the effect of music on your energy and mood you will find your own favorites.
Rotate every few days through your collection of CDs because entrainment reduces the effectiveness of your listening. “Entrainment” is the effect of repetition that causes the stapedius to work less energetically. Think of entrainment as brain and ear muscle boredom. Variety offsets that “groove” effect. However, you need not spend a lot of money on variety. Daniel recovered from schizophrenia using no more than three CDs of classical music.
4. Of course, the volume should be kept to a LOW, comfortable level. Too loud sound damages the stapedius muscle further, exposing the inner ear to greater damage. Caution is particularly important when wearing headphones because the music is focused onto the eardrum. We STOP listening at the slightest sense of fatigue, edginess, or feeling of “sensory overload” that indicate the ear has been over-stimulated.
Bérard, who recovered from some level of hearing loss under Tomatis’s care before he also became an ear specialist, is emphatic about a listening program lasting no longer than 2 weeks. In my experience with Daniel and with some other people with lifetime forms of deafness, two weeks is nowhere near long enough to develop strength in the ear muscle(s). In some situations, amplified listening should be used at regular intervals indefinitely. For very severe conditions such as autism and schizophrenia, some other researchers have found that amount of stimulation is not nearly enough. But for other less severe conditions, two weeks of focused listening followed by two weeks of binaural sound is a good way to begin.
5. Tomatis strongly cautions against low-frequency music. The low frequencies affect the vestibule and can cause serious problems. Drums and other low-frequency sounds should be avoided by people with middle- and inner-ear damage. Low-frequency sound can negate the changes in the brain brought from high-frequency sound.
The vestibule, which is most strongly affected by the lower frequencies, also “hears” motion. For example, the movements of sign language (in the single digits of Hertz) for the deaf is registered in the same part of the brain as higher frequencies of motion in air that we call “sound” and and hear with the cochlea: Broca’s area of the brain that produces speech and that is activated in reading. Thus, the vestibule and cochlea overlap and co-ordinate their perceptions. Battering the ear with low-frequency sound disturbs those processes.
The right ear co-ordinates the focus of the eyes, partly through the ear’s stapedius muscle. This information is not widely known by doctors or researchers. For example, some researchers are recommending special glasses for kids with dyslexia who have been found not to focus their eyes properly. However, the child’s fundamental problem is not the eyes, but the stapedius muscle in the ear. The child’s alternating dominance makes it impossible for the eyes to focus during the right-brain interval of shifting dominance. The same phenomenon produces hallucinations in severely non-dominant people. Low-frequency music that strongly affects the vestibule will affect the eye to some extent.
6. A working surface is better than working on your lap for artwork. Colored markers and pencils and paper patterns for coloring can be used to help the integration of the hemispheres. The work of the eye is co-ordinated with the inner ear mechanisms under the activity of the stapedius muscle. Producing unstructured art within a circle also is helpful. You can trace circles from a dinner plate turned onto a piece of paper.
7. If you experience dramatic results, be careful. Your body has been in an unusual condition for an extended period of time and needs to be brought back to optimal health very patiently and gently. Especially, do not exercise too much and too suddenly. Stop activity BEFORE you feel fatigued. Muscle fatigue in the body shows up as backlash in the stapedius muscle. Several times I have seen someone recovering and the surge of energy leads the person to over-exercise. The stapedius muscle, which controls all the extensors in the body, receives the chemical results of that vigorous activity and is overwhelmed so that fatigue and other symptoms of stapedius damage return. So take it easy as you start to feel better.
8. Remember, too, that it is muscle you exercise with music. To stay fit, that muscle needs normal amounts of sound: singing and speaking and listening to music. Such activities as part of a daily or weekly routine are especially important for people who have suffered ear damage. Check the “Protect your Ears” tab on this website to learn how to take good care of your ears!
Your can read more about the paradigm of ear-related behaviour syndromes in the publications available at: http://www.northernlightbooks.ca