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A Comparison with Symptoms of Other Ear-Related Syndromes




Laurna Tallman's discovery of the dysfunctional right ear's effect on behaviour by failing to control left-brain dominance leads her to assign the etiology of those behavioural symptoms to weakness (lack of tonus) in the stapedius muscle in the middle ear. The otolaryngologists Alfred A. Tomatis and Guy Bérard developed music therapies that affected the stapedius muscle that "gates" high-frequency sound into the inner ear. Tomatis was correct in thinking that other behavioural syndromes than dyslexia, that is, various forms of serious mental illness, also had their etiology in the middle ear,[1] but he was mistaken in thinking individuals with audio-processing deficits could exert  "will power." Tallman's research shows that the degree of volitional control by the left-brain of the right stapedius muscle is a function of the strength of that muscle, not of any intention ideation.[2] In fact, deliberate rational (left-brain) action is physically impossible when the cerebral hemispheres are integrating poorly, whether slowly, as in bipolarity, or sequentially, as in autism and schizophrenia. Like the audio-phono loop in which the ear controls the voice (the Tomatis Effect, 1957), the relationship of the right ear to the left-brain's co-ordination of other body systems is cybernetic, with control exercised by the muscles of the middle ear. Usually, the right ear controls the brain's speed of hemispheric integration by maintaining dominance in the left cerebral hemisphere through its processing of high-frequency sound. Only when the left hemisphere is dominant is it possible for the person to learn to exercise control over behaviour prompted by the primal urges and by the emotions mediated in the right-brain.

The author considers data volunteered by 107 persons (1) discontinuing SSRIs and other psychoactive  medications and/or (2) with residual symptoms after cessation. Of those subjects, 98% and 91%, respectively, have symptoms consonant with severe right middle and inner ear damage. All suicidal subjects in both categories have symptoms of severe middle ear and inner ear damage. More than half of those with suicidal tendencies report symptoms consant with dysfunction in the vestibule, cochlea, or both parts of the inner ear. Among suicidal subjects reporting only one locus of inner ear symptom (cochlea or vestibule), twice as many subjects reported vestibular symptoms. Whether in withdrawal or when dealing with residual symptoms, more than 50% of the people at either stage of discontinuation who show moderate symptoms of middle ear damage contemplate or attempt suicide. Sixty-two per cent of the subjects in SSRI withdrawal and 63% of persons with residual symptoms report having problems with the inner ear, either the vestibule (46% and 42%) or cochlea (39% and 35%) or both (21% and 22%).  
    In view of the spontaneous recoveries and partial recoveries of these subjects and the similarity of their symptoms to those improved or healed by focused listening to high-frequency music, it seems likely that listening to high-frequency music with headphones could greatly accelerate the SSRI withdrawal and recovery process, possibly treating as well the underlying condition for which antidepressants were prescribed. 


[1] Tomatis, despite remarkable discoveries and high levels of success with his patients, tried unsuccessfully to convince his Canadian associates that mental illness originates in the ear. The Conscious Ear, My Life of Transformation through Listening (Barrytown, NY, and Sound Listening and Learning Center, Phoenix, Ariz.: Station Hill Press, 1991) 2001. Guy Bérard's book Hearing Equals Behavior (New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1993) also lacks the overarching paradigm of left-cerebral dominance for understanding the changes his very successful method effects. The second edition of his book with Sally Brockett offers various proposals for theories of audio-processing, none of which take into consideration left-cerebral dominance in the integration of the functions of the two halves of the brain.

[2] Tallman, Listening for the Light, ch. 11.

This study includes tables, notes, and extensive Appendices of the symptoms discussed in the paper. Format 8 1/2 x 11 inches, spiral binding. 50 pages.

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