Comprehensive Guide to Listening Therapy

Kid doing a Listening Therapy

Are you searching for new approaches to enhance cognitive development, support individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or address learning difficulties? If that is the case, listening therapy may provide promising assistance.

These programs rely on the idea of using sound-based therapies, like music therapy, to engage and influence our sense of hearing. They go beyond traditional methods by incorporating techniques such as neurofeedback and sensory integration to promote overall development.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the most common listening therapies available. We aim to provide valuable insights into listening therapies and their wide range of benefits to assist you in evaluating the most suitable option for yourself or your loved ones.

In this article

What is a listening therapy?

Who can benefit from listening therapies?

What is the origin of listening therapies?

What is the evidence behind listening therapies?

Which criteria should be considered when selecting a program?

What are the most frequently used listening therapies?

What is a listening therapy?

Listening therapies are alternative therapies that stimulate the brain by manipulating the sounds of music and/or voice. These programs employ various elements like filters, bone conduction and voice modification to give the brain a sensory workout, helping individuals overcome problems with processing sounds and attention-related challenges (ADD/ADHD). Experts in fields such as speech therapy and sensory processing use carefully designed sound experiences and personalized interventions to enhance neurological development, language skills and sensory integration.

Who can benefit from listening therapies?

Listening therapies can benefit a wide range of individuals. Here are some examples of how these programs can help:

  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Listening therapies have shown positive results in supporting individuals with ASD. These programs can assist in sensory integration, social communication and emotional regulation, contributing to overall developmental progress.
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Listening therapies can be helpful for individuals with ADHD by improving attention, focus, and concentration. These programs employ techniques to enhance auditory processing and reduce distractibility.
  • auditory processing disorders: Listening therapies can help individuals who struggle with processing and interpreting auditory information. These programs can enhance their auditory skills, improve listening abilities and promote better comprehension of sounds and language.
  • learning disabilities: Listening therapies can be beneficial for individuals with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or language-based learning disorders. These programs can support language development, improve phonological awareness and enhance reading and writing skills.
  • cognitive enhancement: Listening therapies offer innovative approaches for cognitive development. They can enhance memory, problem-solving skills, creativity and overall cognitive performance.
  • communication difficulties: Listening therapies can benefit individuals with speech and language difficulties. These programs can support speech production, language comprehension, articulation and expressive communication.
  • stress reduction and relaxation: Listening therapies, such as music therapy, can aid in reducing stress, promoting relaxation and improving overall well-being. These programs utilize soothing sounds and therapeutic techniques to induce a calming effect.

What is the origin of listening therapies?

The original listening therapy was developed in the 1960s by Dr. Alfred Tomatis (M.D.-ENT). Dr. Tomatis established a link between how we listen and how we speak, which is now well-known as the auditory feedback loop.

Dr. Alfred Tomatis also highlighted the difference between hearing, which is the passive reception of sounds, and listening, which involves active psychological and emotional processing of sounds. He developed a specialized device known as the “Electronic Ear,” which contains customizable parameters tailored to each individual and specifically designed for the application of the Tomatis® Method.

What is the evidence behind listening therapies?

Numerous research studies have explored the ways in which these programs can be beneficial for various aspects of cognition, language development, sensory integration and attention improvement.

For the Tomatis® Method alone, over 100 studies, some of which have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, have significantly contributed to our understanding of the benefits and effectiveness of listening therapies. It is worth noting that the variety of protocols and proprietary equipment used in these programs may explain the ongoing need for more scientific papers.

Which criteria should be considered when selecting a program?

When selecting a program, you might want to take into consideration the following top 10 criteria:

  • Time commitment
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Individualization
  • Equipment/ Technology used
  • Bone conduction
  • Music vs Voice
  • Professionals vs Consumers
  • Need for complementary approaches
  • Level of professional certification required

1.     Time commitment:

Evaluate the time you can allocate to the program. Some programs may require a significant time commitment, such as regular sessions or daily practice over weeks or months. For example, the Tomatis® Method program involves a concentrated time commitment: a procedure that is repeated 2-3 times with a gap of 4-6 weeks between each session. Each session lasts 80 minutes per day for a duration of 12 days. Consider your schedule, availability and ability to commit to the program’s requirements.

2.     Location:

Determine whether the program is offered locally or if it can be accessed remotely. Local programs may require you to travel to a specific facility or therapist’s office, which can impact convenience and accessibility. On the other hand, remote programs allow you to participate from the comfort of your own home, offering greater flexibility in terms of location. Soundsory® and Forbrain® can be used at home by the end user, while the others are more commonly used at a clinic, with the option to be practiced at home requiring the supervision of a trained professional.

3.     Cost:

Consider the financial aspect of the program. Evaluate any upfront fees, ongoing costs and potential additional expenses, such as equipment or travel cost to the clinic. It is important to have a clear understanding of the program’s pricing structure and if it fits within your budget. Additionally, explore if there are any insurance coverage options or financial assistance available. The most affordable solutions are the ones which can be used directly by the end-user at home, such as Soundsory® or Forbrain®.

4.     Individualization:

Assess whether the program offers personalized approaches and interventions tailored to your specific needs. Individualized programs take into account your unique challenges, goals and strengths. They may involve assessments, evaluations, or customization of the program to ensure it addresses your specific auditory needs effectively. The program which is famous for its level of individualization is the Tomatis® Method.

5.    Equipment/ Technology used:

Consider the type of equipment used in the auditory program. An important aspect to assess is the presence of a dynamic filter. Programs such as the Tomatis® Methodthe Listening Fitness Method (LIFT®) developed by Paul Madaule, a student of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, and the Forbrain® headset incorporate dynamic filters or electronic gating. These filters modify the timbre and intensity of the sound alternately, creating surprises for the brain and improving attention and optimal listening. On the other hand, programs like The Listening Program® and Therapeutic Listening® focus on music frequencies and rhythms rather than utilizing dynamic filters.

6.     Bone conduction:

Evaluate if the program incorporates bone conduction as a method of sound transmission. Bone conduction involves transmitting sound through vibrations in the bones of the head. The Tomatis® Method utilizes both bone conduction and air conduction to prepare the brain for auditory information. Similarly, programs like the Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS) and The Listening Program® also make use of bone conduction. Customized tools like Dreampad® from ILS transmit filtered music through bone conduction. Forbrain® stands out as a unique device that exclusively uses bone conduction to transmit vocal sounds.

7.     Music vs Voice:

The auditory program may use music and/or voice as the primary stimulus. Numerous listening therapies employ filtered classical music, such as Mozart, known for its harmonics and positive effects on brain stimulation. The combination of Mozart music with the Tomatis® Method, popularized as the “Mozart Effect” by Don Campbell, is one example of this approach. Additionally, programs like the Tomatis® Method, Forbrain®, and the Integrated Listening Systems® incorporate the user’s own voice as part of the program. By speaking into a microphone and having their voice filtered and retransmitted to their ears, the brain is challenged through modification of the natural audio-vocal loop, providing a sensory workout.

8.     Professionals vs Consumers:

Consider whether the listening therapy is designed for implementation by professionals, such as Speech, Language, and Occupational therapists, or if it is suitable for direct use by consumers. Many programs are tailored to the expertise of professionals who can customize the settings based on individual needs and make adjustments accordingly. Once the settings are established, the program can be used at home. Some programs also offer easy-to-use solutions directly to end-users, such as Soundsory®, typically in the form of preset programs that can be easily followed without professional supervision.

9.     Need for complementary approaches:

Determine if the program can be used as a stand-alone intervention or if it is recommended to be combined with other complementary approaches. Some auditory programs may suggest or require additional therapies, educational support or interventions to maximize the benefits. Understanding these recommendations can help you plan and integrate the program effectively into your overall approach. Typically, a program like The Listening Program® or Therapeutic Listening® only offer passive listening sessions and might require to be combined with more comprehensive approaches also including physical and linguistic components such as Soundsory® or the Tomatis® Method.

10. Level of professional certification required:

Explore whether the program requires any specific certification or training for practitioners. Certain auditory programs may have specific qualifications or certifications for individuals administering the program or guiding participants through the process. Consider whether you prefer programs with certified practitioners or if you are comfortable participating in programs with less demanding certifications. For instance, the Tomatis® Method entails the most extensive training with 4 levels of certifications. In contrast, other programs such as The Listening Program® or Therapeutic Listening® only require to complete an online training.

We have reviewed the 6 most common auditory programs based on the criteria above, highlighting their pros and cons:

  • The Listening Program® (TLP) by Advanced Brain Technologies
  • Therapeutic Listening® (TL) by Vital Links
  • Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS)
  • Berard Method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT)
  • Tomatis® Method
  • Soundsory®

1. The Listening Program® (TLP) by Advanced Brain Technologies

The Listening Program® (TLP) by Advanced Brain Technologies is an auditory program targeting individuals with autism or ADHD, but it is recommended to be used in conjunction with other sensory approaches. The program focuses solely on passive listening and has limited customization options. It is considered relatively expensive compared to alternative treatments. TLP can be beneficial for reducing stress and improving wellness in a variety of populations, but scientific evidence and trainings for the program are limited.

There is limited research on the outcomes of The Listening Program (TLP) for children with auditory processing disorders. Only one study has specifically examined the effects of TLP and found some improvements in auditory skills and performance in certain academic areas [1]. However, the study did not consider the different profiles of auditory processing disorders, and the authors were unable to explain why TLP produced these results [1]. The study also indicated that TLP had a small effect size in language and educational domains, suggesting some positive changes but without a clear understanding of the underlying reasons [1].

In comparison to other sound therapy programs, such as Soundsory® and the Tomatis® Method, TLP stands out as a passive listening program that lacks individualization and requires supervision from a certified provider. Alternative programs offer a combination of auditory, linguistic, and movement therapies, providing a more comprehensive approach. If you are seeking a more affordable home-based program, you could consider Soundsory® as an alternative to TLP.

2. Therapeutic Listening® (TL)  by Vital Links

Therapeutic Listening® (TL) is an auditory program provided by Vital Links, designed for individuals with autism and ADHD. It involves wearing headphones and listening to specially filtered music that targets different frequency ranges to impact various parts of the nervous system. There is evidence of positive outcomes when combined with sensory integration techniques. It requires customization by a trained therapist and entails a time commitment of two phases lasting one month each, with 30-minute sessions twice a day, seven days a week. TL is primarily used by professionals in clinical settings, and the program’s cost varies depending on the therapist.

Complementary alternatives to TL include programs like Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS)Soundsory® and the Tomatis® Method. These programs combine auditory, language and movement activities to address sensory needs. Home-based alternatives provide options for individuals to use at home without the need for a qualified professional, offering convenience and potentially reducing costs compared to TL.

3. Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS)

The Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS) program is a sound therapy program that combines auditory, language, and movement activities to train the brain to process sensory information more effectively. It is primarily used to help individuals with sensory challenges, learning and attention difficulties (ADD/ADHD) and anxiety. The program consists of listening sessions with pre-recorded filtered classical music and may also involve specific movement and motor activities. However, ILS programs can be costly and require finding a certified professional, which limits accessibility for some individuals. As an alternative, other sound therapy programs offer similar benefits and can be used at home, making them more affordable and accessible options.

There is a lack of scientific studies or empirical evidence to substantiate these claims, but various paid case studies and reviews can be found online. The available online literature also mentions minimal side effects due to the gentle nature of the music used in the program and the relatively short duration of daily sessions.

4. Berard Method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT)

The Berard method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is a sound therapy program developed by Dr. Guy Berard in the 1980s. It aims to improve auditory processing and sensory integration in individuals with various challenges. However, the Berard method has seen limited updates since the 1990s and requires supervision from a trained professional, making it relatively expensive compared to alternative home-based programs like Soundsory® or Forbrain®.

While the Berard method has been used for individuals with conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the evidence behind its effectiveness is still a topic of debate. Scientific research on AIT is ongoing, and while some studies have reported positive outcomes, others have raised concerns about methodology and lack of controlled research. According to a 2003 technical report published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the existing evidence was insufficient to validate the use of AIT as a sole treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities.

5. Tomatis® Method

The Tomatis® Method is a sound therapy approach developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis in the 1960s. It focuses on the relationship between sound and cognitive processes to improve communication, language development and sensory integration. The method uses proprietary equipment with personalized parameters and requires intensive time-commitment and the involvement of certified professionals. It is beneficial for individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit disorders (ADD/ ADHD), learning disabilities and speech and language delays.

The Tomatis® Method utilizes filtered music and voice feedback through a proprietary device with headphones that transmit sound via air and bone conduction. The transmission is calibrated to create specific delays and all parameters are personalized for each individual.

According to a recent review, the Tomatis® Method has been found to be effective in reducing autistic traits in children, indicating significant improvements [2].

The method is practiced in specialized centers worldwide and offers an individualized approach with tailored treatment plans. However, it is a costly option compared to alternative programs like Therapeutic Listening®The Listening Program®Integrated Listening Systems® (ILS)Soundsory® and Forbrain®.

6. Soundsory®

The Soundsory® program utilizes the same underlying science and principles as the Tomatis® Method but offers a more affordable option. It provides user-friendly equipment that can be conveniently used at home. Soundsory® combines movement-oriented exercises with carefully crafted music that undergoes neuro-acoustic processing. Its main goal is to establish a solid foundation for improving cognitive processes, starting with sensory integration.

Soundsory® offers a variety of dynamic and rhythmic music, such as waltz and march music, specifically designed to stimulate the vestibular system. In contrast, the Tomatis® Method primarily focuses on using classical music to support learning and language development.

Soundsory® serves as a supplementary tool to the Tomatis® Method and is widely embraced by therapists and professionals worldwide. It employs the dynamic filter and bone conduction concept to stimulate both the vestibular and auditory systems. This unique program combines music and movement, which proves beneficial for individuals facing challenges with auditory processing. When used independently, the program involves a 40-day routine of daily 30-minute music listening sessions combined with exercises. The program is divided into two 20-day sessions.

Here is a summary table comparing these auditory programs:

CriteriaBerard Method of AITTomatis® MethodSoundsory®
Time commitmentModerateHighModerate
LocationTypically conducted in a clinical settingIn a Tomatis center or at home under supervisionAt home
CostHighHighMore affordable
Equipment/ TechnologyNo dynamic filterProprietary dynamic filterProprietary dynamic filter
Bone conductionNoYesYes
Music vs VoiceMusic stimulationMusic and voice stimulationMusic and movement stimulation
Professionals vs ConsumersProfessional equipmentProfessional equipmentUser-friendly for consumers
Need for complementary approachesOptionallyOptionallyOptionally
Level of professional certification requiredProfessional certificationExtensive professional certificationN/A – No supervision required
ProsSimilar approach to the Tomatis® MethodCombining auditory, linguistic, and physical components
Customized follow-up
May be applied at home, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatment
Simple to utilize and put into practice
Less expensive than clinic-run programs
Including auditory, linguistic, and physical components
Online exercise program
ConsOutdated equipment and method
Relatively expensive
High level of commitmentMay not require supervision by a practitioner
CriteriaThe Listening Program®Therapeutic Listening®Integrated Listening Systems (ILS)
Time commitmentModerateHighModerate
LocationIn a clinic or at home under supervisionIn a clinic or at home under supervisionIn a clinic or at home under supervision
Equipment/ TechnologyNo dynamic filterNo dynamic filterNo dynamic filter
Bone conductionNoNoYes
Music vs VoiceMusic stimulationMusic stimulationMusic and voice stimulation
Professionals vs ConsumersProfessional equipmentProfessional equipmentProfessional equipment
Need for complementary approachesYesYesYes
Level of professional certification requiredOnline trainingOnline trainingProfessional certification
ProsEasy to use  Easy to useCustomized follow-up
ConsFocuses solely on listening
Often recommended as an adjunct to other therapies
Limited customization options
Considered relatively expensive
Passive listening sessions only
Limited individualization
Lacks customization according to individual client profiles
Comes with a high price tag
Involves visiting a clinic or having a practitioner supervise the program at your home

Other programs we have reviewed in our blog include the Listening Fitness (LIFT®)Samonas Sound Therapythe LACE® listening program and B-Calm GP®.


In conclusion, listening therapies offer alternative therapies that manipulate sound to stimulate the brain and promote cognitive development. These programs, such as the Tomatis® Method, utilize techniques like music therapy and neurofeedback to enhance neurological development, language skills and sensory integration. They have shown promising results in supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), auditory processing disorders, learning disabilities and communication difficulties.

When selecting a listening therapy, it is important to consider factors such as time commitment, location, cost, individualization, equipment/technology used, bone conduction, music vs. voice stimuli, professionals vs. consumer use, the need for complementary approaches and the level of professional certification required. Programs like The Listening Program®Therapeutic Listening®Integrated Listening Systems®Berard Method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT)Tomatis® Method and Soundsory® are among the most commonly used auditory programs, each with its own pros and cons. Some programs require professional supervision and specialized equipment, while others offer home-based solutions for greater convenience and affordability.



  • Vargas, S., and Lucker, J. R.(2016) A Quantitative Summary of The Listening Program (TLP) Efficacy Studies: What Areas Were Found to Improve by TLP Intervention?.  Ther. Int., 23: 206– 217. doi: 10.1002/oti.1425.
  • Brbi, I., & Tomi, L. (2020). An Integrative Review of the Effectiveness of the Tomatis Method in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Valérie Leroux

Over a decade experience in healthcare. In 2022, I founded Bioty Healthcare, blending Western and Asian cultures for a unique perspective. I now have a full focus on health content.