Article 2 – The “Sound Approach to Learning” Series 2. The Tree of Sound Enhancement Therapy® by Dorinne Davis

Dorinne Davis presents her second article in a three-part series dealing with the complexities of sound’s affect on the human system. These are path breaking ideas! Improvement of what we hear and how we hear it can affect the entire body. Even more intriguing is the idea that sound waves affect us even beyond what enters our bodies through our traditional hearing system. –ED

dorinne_davisWebster’s Dictionary says that sound is the sensation produced in the organs of hearing when the surrounding air vibrates. Today, sound is also considered to be vibrational energy. Vibration indicates frequency. Frequency is synonymous with sound. We may not always “hear” these sounds as our ear “hears” sound between 18-20,000 Hz. However, our bodies feel sound vibrations through our bone structure, our sense of touch, and our interconnected cell network all over our body. Sound impacts our entire body, even subconsciously.

There are many available therapies utilizing sound’s vibrational impact on the body. All can make change to some degree. However, a comprehensive understanding of the various therapies has only recently been explained in “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”.[1]

By using “The Tree of Sound Enhancement Therapy®”, one can make sense of the many available therapies.[2] This tree analogy defines the uses of the therapies. The “Root System” addresses one’s sense of hearing. The “Trunk” addresses all processes of the ear for general sound processing stimulation. The “Lower Leaves and Branches” address specific skills like auditory memory, auditory sequencing, and auditory discrimination. The “Upper Leaves and Branches” address reading, spelling, and handwriting. The “Overall Maintenance of the Tree” addresses one’s wellness or body support for maintaining change.[3]

This tree analogy is based on the voice-ear-brain connection initially identified by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, and further validated by the Davis Addendum to the Tomatis Effect in 2004.[4] Basically, the concept suggests that the voice produces what the ear hears and the ear emits the same stressed frequencies as the voice. There is a cyclical connection between the voice and the ear that then transfers to the brain.[5]

“The Tree of Sound Enhancement Therapy” is the foundation for the Diagnostic Evaluation for Therapy Protocol (DETP), a test battery that determines when, and if a sound-based therapy is appropriate, and when it is, the correct order for successful administration. The DETP tests all five areas of “The Tree” and the results maximize the success of any sound-based therapy. Changes with sound-based therapy have been accomplished by all of the therapies discussed but maximum success is achieved with the correct administration of the therapies.

Root System

When an issue is present with hearing function at The Root System level, Dr. Bernard’s Auditory Integration Training (AIT) may be suggested (only the DETP can determine if the therapy will be suggested and in what order). This method “retrains” the acoustic reflex muscle in the middle ear which stimulates both the cochlea and vestibular portions of the ear more appropriately.[6] The brain and body responses become more efficient. This method especially helps one type of hearing hypersensitivity, and also increases blood flow in the brain at the auditory and vestibular receptive centers. Changes can be seen in the listener’s responses to sound and movement. Very often this type of change can help people who are overly aware of sound disturbances that impede studying, attention, focus, and language comprehension, which indirectly affects reading. By making the world “more comfortable” or “less distracting”, the person can finally tune into what they are supposed to be listening to.

Trunk System

When the DETP identifies a sound processing issue at the Trunk level, the Tomatis Method is introduced. This method, which was researched and established by Dr. Alfred Tomatis in the 1950’s, addresses all of the components of the ear’s sensory stimulation and connections, and often has the greatest impact on the listener educationally and developmentally when applied in the appropriate order. It includes the use of filtered and gated music, bone conduction vibration, and vocal production through the use of special equipment. It is an intensive program of listening. Changes can be seen with skills needed to process auditory and vestibular information, such as body coordination, rhythm/pitch/inflection of one’s speaking patterns, reading skills, listening skills, and oral motor skills to name a few.

Many sound therapies have tried to copy this method. Some of these spin-offs fit into the upper “Trunk” because they do not include all of the processes that are a part of the very comprehensive Tomatis Method.

Leaves and Branches

When a specific auditory processing skill weakness is identified, the therapies at the “Lower Leaves and Branches” are utilized. There are many sound-based therapies at this level of “The Tree”. Fast ForWord® addresses temporal sequencing skills necessary for language and reading comprehension. Interactive Metronome® addresses one’s rhythm, timing, and focus, all necessary for daily functioning and development. Earobics® helps develop specific auditory processing skills such as discrimination, and sound blends.

When more academic skills are found to be weak, various reading programs such as Read-Spell-Comprehend® and the Wilson® Method, are incorporated in the “Upper Leaves and Branches”. These methods stimulate a combination of sensory skills, including the auditory sense, to teach reading. These methods are best introduced, once the foundation of “The Tree” is sufficiently developed, to make and maintain the most change.[7] In addition to the DETP, The Davis Center uses their Reading Inventory Skill Assessment (RISA) to determine if the person needing help should start at this level or a more foundationally appropriate level of “The Tree”.

Body Maintenance of the Tree

Both the Tomatis Effect and the Davis Addendum to the Tomatis Effect emphasize the importance of the voice in maintaining and supporting developmental and learning changes.[8] The voice provides the resonance for the maintenance of the body and “The Tree”. Although not typically a part of the learning portion of “The Tree”, the science of BioAcoustics® uses the voice as the identifier of one’s body’s imbalances and through sound presentation supports the body in returning to its natural form and function. When learning is not improving to the desired degree, this wellness portion of “The Tree” often is crucial to the person’s success.


Sound impacts the entire body. The ear is the major sensory stimulator for the body and there is a direct connection between the voice, the ear, and the brain. The entire body is the recipient of sound’s vibrational impact through these connections. Therefore, when addressing learning, educational, and developmental issues, sound stimulation should be considered. Sound stimulates the entire body making positive change within the system. The next sections will describe the individual sections of The Tree and the sound-based therapies in more depth as they relate to learning.



[1] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004

[2] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004

[3] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004

[4] Davis-Kalugin, D S., “Davis Addendum to the Tomatis Effect”, Acoustical Society of America Conference, San Diego, CA. November 2004

[5] Davis, D S., “The Cycle of Sound”, International Tomatis Convention, Vienna, Austria, May 2002

[6] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004, p 168

[7] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004, p 255-277

[8] Davis, D S., “Sound Bodies through Sound Therapy”, Kalco Publishing LLC, Landing, NJ 2004

Leave a Reply

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