Solutions 4 Learning receives many requests for information about AIT. Here is some basic information.

Individuals with auditory and sensory processing problems have difficulty interpreting daily experiences. The capacity to hear and communicate is compromised. Behavioral issues and social skills are often affected as a result.

The Bérard method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT) helps reorganize the brain to improve auditory and sensory processing capabilities. Participants use headphones to comfortably listen to AIT auditory stimulation. This reorganizes the dysfunctional sensory center so the brain no longer gets overloaded with disorganized information.

Language, learning and social skills develop more normally and participants are better able to excel as a result.

This method of auditory training was originally developed by Dr. Guy Bérard – a French ear, nose and throat physician – who successfully used this technique with thousands of people in Europe, after treating his own impending deafness successfully.

The Bérard system of AIT has since become regarded as the most effective approach available world-wide for enhanced listening skills, language, learning and sound tolerance.

Certain indications an individual could benefit from AIT

The following difficulties may present the opportunity to benefit from AIT:

  • Poor attention
  • Poor listening thresholds
  • Slower thinking and processing
  • Difficulty listening, understanding, and remembering
  • Incorrectly understanding and following directions
  • Brain “traffic jams” when processing sensory information
  • Hindered ability to put ideas in sequence
  • Sound hyper (over-sensitive) and hypo-sensitivity (tuned out)
  • Tinnitus
  • Low tolerance for distractions

  1. It is not clear what the minimum age should be to receive AIT. For many years, Dr. Guy Berard, the pioneer of AIT, stated that 4 years was the minimum age, but he recently revised the minimum age to 3 years. Our practice, being a paediatrically orientated practice, will also work with children younger than 3 years, providing that they have a clean bill of health and that the sound output of the programme is limited to 65 dB’s for the 10 days (*normal output is 78- 85 dBA*).

  2. The listener receives 20 listening sessions lasting for 30 minutes, over a 10-day period. In most cases, the listener has two sessions a day for 10 days. The number of sessions and length of them are not subject to change until formal research procedures determine that such changes are beneficial.?

  3. During the listening sessions, the person listens to processed music. That is, the AIT sound amplifier attenuates low and high frequencies at random from the high quality media files, and then sends this modified music through headphones to the listener. This random selection of frequencies is termed 'modulation.'

  4. The intensity level (volume) during the AIT listening sessions should not exceed 85 dBA (slow scale) and may be set at much lower intensities depending on the individual's comfort level. Basically, the music is played at a moderately loud, but not uncomfortable, level. The 85 dBA level for a total of one-hour per day is well below the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) guidelines for non-hazardous noise levels. The American Occupational Safety and Health Association Noise Standard permits exposure to an average noise exposure of 85 dBA for eight continuous hours. For reference, 85 dBA is approximately as loud as standing 5 feet from a vacuum cleaner, with 92-94 dBA as loud as wind noise in a car with the window down. It is also important to note that the perception of intensity varies considerably depending on the pitch of the sound. For example, a high-pitched song sung by Carly Simon may be perceived as louder than one sung by a male vocalist such as Gordon Lightfoot even though both may have the same dBA measurement.

  5. Audiograms are typically obtained prior to, at the mid-point, and at the completion of the AIT listening session. The first and the mid-point audiograms are used to set filters on the AIT machines. These filters are used to dampen (40 dBA or more) those frequencies, which the person hears too acutely (peaks).

  6. AIT involves several components including some audiological work, behavior analysis and management, educational issues, and after-care counseling for the client and family.

This article appeared in a previous issue of The Sound Connection, 1993, Vol. 1, No. 2, page 5 – this is an abbreviated and amended version of that article for local practice-specific distribution. The Sound Connection is the quarterly newsletter of the Society for Auditory Intervention Techniques (P.O. Box 4538, Salem, OR 97302, USA).

How Does AIT Work?

  • The human body is constantly impacted by internal and external sound stimulation and vibrational energy. Each organ in the human body responds to a different sound frequency. When the listening process is not working properly, it can interfere with our entire system, our overall health and our ability to function in harmony.
  • The way our bodies respond to and process sound and vibrational energy affects us deeply. It impacts our overall health, mood, energy level, alertness, attention span, focus, concentration, information processing and how we express ourselves, both verbally and in writing.
  • AIT was developed in France by Dr. Guy Berard an ear, nose and throat medical doctor. AIT is a scientific method of retraining the ear's acoustical reflex muscle - known also as the stapedius muscle so that the participant will be able listen and to process sounds more normally without distortions and delays. AIT is also documented to improve the flow of blood to the brain.
  • AIT is based on Dr. Berard's theory that the use of electronically modulated, and/or filtered music retrains the ear and auditory system to work properly. Dr. Berard discovered that hypersensitivity; distortions and delays in the auditory signals contribute to inefficient learning.
  • AIT retrains a disorganized auditory system. The end result is that there is a more efficient processing of auditory information.
  • The AIT method has over 30 years of scientific research. There are 28 clinical studies in the USA documenting it's effectiveness as an Educational Intervention.
  • Once the cause of the hearing and auditory processing problem is corrected, other therapies and educational interventions can often become more effective. Changes can then occur that enable the child to achieve at a higher level.

For more information contact us on (011) 917 1230.