Music and Art

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“> . 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:

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:

4 Responses to Music and Art

  1. I realize that you are talking about something far more sophisticated than simply listening to the radio or any CD that strikes your fancy. That said, I still want to share my experience: often times for me, listening to music causes me to feel depressed. This is true of most types of music. I have found that certain types of music (which, thankfully, I enjoy) don’t cause this, but that all other types do. I have actually had to stop listening to my favorite types of music because the feeling it causes is so awful. (but don’t worry – as I said, I am able to listen to other music that I enjoy very much) Any thoughts on this?

    • WildRose says:

      Hi, Jamie,
      I could be talking about listening to the radio! On a couple of occasions, because I am particularly well-informed about how sound can affect people, I have experienced “ambient” sound from the radio that (1) strongly energized me so that my drive home from an exhausting day brought me home safely (2) healed my vertigo and other symptoms of the flu during the playing of a particular piece of music. While headphones are essential to developing strength in the middle ear muscles, when those muscles are generally fit but experiencing a milder form of assault, stimulating them can actually throw off the effects of that assault, in these two instances, fatigue and a viral infection. An ear that has been harmed with drugs, whether prescribed or illicit, over a few weeks or months, may require much more focused stimulation, i.e., through headphones, and for a longer period of time, say, two hours per day for two weeks, or for two months, or, as in the case of our son Dan, 6 weeks to 10 months. Dan was medicated, which doubtless slowed down his rate of recovery even though his dosage was minuscule.

      It would be facile of me to attempt to answer your question fully without knowing more about you. I have followed one or two of your posts since I asked to be kept informed about your blog, so I am becoming acquainted with you through your use of language. I can make certain assumptions about your left cerebral development from your profession, your beliefs, your values, and the types of writers who interest you. To be more accurate, I would need even more specific information about your lateralization, your dominant ear, and the types of music you listen to and those you call “your favourites” before venturing an opinion on your feelings of depression when listening to “your favourite” music. Let me attempt to answer you, for the moment, by telling you more about how the ears function and how they create moods.

      The right ear in most people (about 80% of persons) is slightly more dominant than the left ear from before birth. The unborn infant more frequently sucks the right thumb, which tells us the fetus is right-handed and right-lateralized. The language bump in the fetal brain is in the left hemisphere and that is almost always where language develops, even in people with weak right ears who become left-lateralized because their left ears are forced into the dominant listening role. Those two different situations develop the person’s neurology differently from before birth. They are extremely important for understanding behaviour because people with weak right ears have greater difficulty learning rationality, control of their emotions, and while some become quite strongly left-cerebral dominant, their cerebral integration develops differently from the vast majority of people with dominant right ears and dominant left cerebral hemispheres.

      Knowing whether you are right- or left-handed would tell me right away whether you have easily developed left-cerebral dominance or whether you have developed your rationality and self-control under exceptional stress. Left-handed people, even if their parents and teachers have not pushed them to use their right hands, are perceiving all of reality under greater influence from their emotional right brains. Focus of the eyes, maintaining attention, the way the left brain accesses memories in the right brain, the way external reality impinges on internal reality to form the emotional life all depend on how the ears are arranging the neural networks in the brain.

      Because the left brain is preoccupied with reason: the concepts, beliefs, and ordering of experience through language that is its primary activity, the right brain becomes the “default” setting for perceiving in different modalities: the joining together of visual and other sensory experience with feelings that define our emotions. As long as the left brain dominates, the right brain is its great, non-moral, “visceral” source of information, not necessarily available in language but vital for the left brain’s decision-making. If something goes wrong with the left ear, which is the left brain’s sub-dominant source of information via the right brain, the emotional life–the person’s prevailing mood–is disturbed. Dr. Guy Berard determined that the range of depression stemmed from audio deficits, usually in the left ear, at 1 and 8 khz (mild depression), 1.5 and 8 khz (moderate depression), and 2 and 8 khz (suicidal depression). He treated those conditions by treating the ear with those specific frequencies of sound until the ear muscles became strong enough to transmit those frequencies correctly. Once the muscles could carry those frequencies of sound, the person’s mood changed. (That process took 2 weeks for 90% of his suicidal subjects; some of the remaining 7.7% who were cured had to come back for further 2-week courses of treatment.)

      Now, I will make an informed guess, but hope you will respond in ways that will reduce the guesswork!
      If listening to particular styles of music alters your mood from cheerful to depressed, I imagine that is because your right and left ears accept that stimulation from a single source of sound very differently. Your right ear hears the music more-or-less precisely for all frequencies of sound, but your left ear is unable to process the same frequencies of sound with the same precision. You have audio deficits in your left ear at 1 or 1.5 and 8 khz. (by comparison with your right ear) that you become much more aware of under the heightened stimulation of music. Your left brain, which receives the sound “rationally” from your right ear, becomes aware that your right brain cannot “feel” the music with appropriate emotions: sounds are missing that the rational brain perceives as losses. Those perceptions of loss create a cycle of sadness or depression.

      While music shows up those deficits, they must be present prevalently. You (i.e., your right and left brain) are missing those frequencies of sound that ought to be coming through your left ear into your right brain at all times for the left brain to notice. I think some of your writing reflects persistent sadness and that you have hoped to erase those feelings by writing. But the best way to alter them, oddly enough, is to expose your ears to more of what makes you feel sad until your left ear can hear sound as perfectly as your right ear. At that point, you will no longer experience depression when exposed to those frequencies of sound — not when listening to music and not when listening to people’s voices, including your own, and not when listening to other sources of sound. Using headphones likely would facilitate that process.

      I hope you will help me in this analysis by filling in some of the blanks: your lateralization, the types of music you are referring to that cause depression, and the the types of music that do not. I would love to be able to nuance my reply.

      Let me know if my response makes sense to you. This format is necessarily abbreviated. Feel free to call or contact me by email if you want to delve more deeply into how sound is affecting your mood.

  2. Dad of Schizoeffective says:

    I am impressed with your writing and responses to writers.
    My dear son is diagnosed schizo effective. No antipsychotics have helped him, but rather make him worse. It is possible that Depakote helped him as he was doing well taking just that for about 6 mos, but then he stopped.
    We believe his mental illness was drug induced. There is no mental illness in either my or my wife’s families.
    When he was > 18 he wanted to be more outgoing with girls and went to a psych who gave him Zoloft. That made him outgoing but also dumb, and he started doing bad in college, so she gave him Adderall which did not help. It is now known that Adderall causes psychosis. He also was on Klonopin during this time. He was also drinking and smoking marijuana. During this time he was a bad kid, but I would not have considered him mentally ill. One evening when he was grounded he climbed out of his 1st floor bedroom window and went to a party where he drank while on Klonopin. He could not find his car. He went to a house and broke in through the window thinking he was returning to his own bedroom window. He got arrested. That was an isolated case at the time.
    He soon realized that the meds and drugs were messing up his life, and he quit all cold turkey and rededicated his life to the Lord. He then was a great young man. This was around March 2008. In Sept 2008 with a new school year, he wanted to get back into dental school, so he took 23 credits and volunteered 20 hrs/week at slum dental clinics. He was determined to get all A’s, which he did. But he started not sleeping. For 1.5 years he averaged 2 hrs/night. He started becoming stranger and stranger.
    First he said that God told him stuff, which God definitely did not say. He claimed that God told him that he was admitted to dental school, and when he was rejected in May 2009, he stopped talking and became very mean. Then he became an atheist, then a Thor worshipper.
    He was at first diagnosed bipolar manic and severe psychotic. The bipolar did not make sense to me since he is always the same. Always insane and always manic. For a while his face showed no emotion at all, but now it shows some emotion.
    He is right handed.
    He is getting out of the hospital for about the 12th time after 3 wks in with no improvement.
    He is very uncooperative. He does not realize anything is wrong with him. I can force him to take supplements or meds, but they don’t help.
    I once took him to 10 days of Brain State Tech brain wave training When he was doing it he stopped his 8 hour monologue rants. But no other improvement. They offered to let him come back for a second set of trainings for free to see if it would help more, but at the time, I didn’t think that stopping his monologue rants was impressive. Now I do.
    What do you recommend?

    • WildRose says:

      Your son’s ears have been badly damaged. He may have been harmed in other ways as well, but his ears are the essential issue. I must first draw your attention to the disclaimer on my website: I am not a physician and I am not medically trained. Anything I say should not be construed as medical advice.

      When I discovered our son’s schizophrenia could be healed by music (2006), as his dyslexic syndrome had been healed by the Tomatis Method in 1997 when he was 16, I was simply overjoyed. I did not understand how either of those healings occurred although I had observed both of them.

      Because Dan was addicted to drugs and alcohol, he relapsed two years later (Christmas 2007, New Years 2008). I gave him a minuscule amount of Risperdal (1/16 mg Risperdal), the amount that had greatly helped him during another very long (over a year) episode of psychosis but this time he became very severely schizophrenic. Again, I set him up with headphones (the left earpiece blocked with a wad of Kleenex) and one or two CDs of classical violin music, plus geometric mandalas to colour. Again, I could see he was improving although progress was extremely slow. I describe all of these observations in my book, and in my other publications.

      This time, I decided to try to find out how music possibly could alter behaviour. I read everything available to me on the brain, discovering that neurological science does not have a clue what causes mental illness. I turned back to the book by the psychologist who ran the Listening Centre where Dan had been healed of dyslexia; I began to focus on the ear and how it functions. I also had made a number of observations about Daniel’s fluctuating behaviour, including tests I had made of his ability to count, read, and pay attention, that no one in the literature ever mentioned. He alternated cognitive states, from greater to lesser confusion, at two-minute intervals BY THE CLOCK. Those changes were consistent in various types of mental activity over a decade. Some basic physiological process was involved in his mental illness. At the same time, I watched his progress: how his language patterns changed (my academic background is English language and literature); how his ability to remember altered (he had no short-term memory at first); and many other symptoms including physical abilities, such as lethargy, not being able to stand or sit upright, and torquing his body to the left and using only his left hand at intervals and not being able to co-ordinate his hands.

      When I came across a chart of the different functions of the two halves of the brain, I knew instantly that Dan’s listening to music WITH HIS RIGHT EAR was making him more “left-brained.” How did that work? As I studied the anatomy of the ear, it became obvious that the only thing in the ear that can change is muscle: the vibrations caused by the music were making the ear muscles, specifically the stapedius muscle, stronger. As it gained in strength it could better control the amount of sound energy reaching the left brain, allowing that hemisphere increasingly to dominate the right brain. Once I had grasped that essential knowledge, many other discoveries cascaded from it. I watched Dan progress through a specific pattern of stages (syndromes of behaviour) as he recovered. Then, I realized he had deteriorated through those stages IN REVERSE ORDER DURING EACH ESCALATION OF HIS SCHIZOPHRENIA. In other words, the condition of his ear collapsing mirrored the condition of his ear becoming stronger. Only when his ear was strong enough to convey sufficient sound to his left brain was Dan able to sustain normal memory, normal language structure, normal physical co-ordination, and so on. Clearly, ALL so-called “mental” illness is on that gradient of ear-muscle function.

      Once Dan regained consistent left-brain dominance, I was able to teach him how to take care of his ears (he was 26 by then) and he became able to take control of his behaviour. He has had no symptoms of schizophrenia since the end of Nov 2008. However, learning to overcome his addictions has been the most difficult part of his recovery; like everyone, he has learned the hard way to cut back further and further on his substance abuse. He has developed in other very positive ways, such as going back to community college to get his high school equivalency certificate, sustaining more mature relationships with people. While still more vulnerable to stress than would be ideal, he continues to grow in maturity and responsible behaviour.

      If I am going to help you with your son, we will need to be in close communication to discuss various issues. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Laurna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *