Auditory Integration Training

Auditory Integration Training Auditory Integration Training Auditory Integration Training Auditory Integration Training

Auditory Integration Training (AIT)


Auditory Integration Training is the re-education of the hearing mechanism. The treatment was developed by Dr Berard, a French ear nose and throat specialist. The retraining consists of 20 half hour sessions, twice daily, over a 2-week period. AIT is NOT a medical treatment; it is an educational intervention.

If children cannot hear clearly what the teacher is saying in class, they will be at a great disadvantage in school. When we hear well, we receive the full range of sounds around us. Even though many sound sources are present at the same time, we are able to interpret them accurately. Unfortunately, verbal information is never transmitted in soundproof rooms, and there is always background noise present. We need to be able to pay attention to the sounds we decide are important. If a child is able to hear certain frequencies too keenly, and is not able to ‘zone out’ those that are not important, it must be incredibly difficult to stay focused and concentrate on the area of importance. The eyes may be facing the teacher, but the brain may be processing other information that is not important. Dr Berard has identified a direct link between poor hearing and disruptive classroom behaviour.

The frequencies of human speech are between 125 Hz and 8,000 Hz. When a child is sent for a hearing test, up to seven frequencies are tested and shown on the audiogram. Dr Berard recommends that eleven frequencies should be tested because this can sometimes show that a child may have peaks at various frequencies, which could cause hearing distortions.

Sometimes a child may perceive the vowel sounds first, which can blur hearing of consonants; “bate” can be heard instead of “date – the consonants have been “covered” by the sound of the vowel “a”. In contrast, a child who cannot perceive the vowel sounds clearly, may write “fowl” for “fool” or “curse” for “course” as differentiating between the vowel sounds may prove difficult for them.

There are two characteristics of sound waves: frequency (pitch) and amplitude (loudness). Hearing tests are mainly focused on the second characteristic of loudness and children are usually tested for hearing loss.

Hearing difficulties are more related to the other characteristic of sound – frequency. A school teacher may speak at quite a fast pace, sometimes facing the class, and sometimes the board. They will use new words constantly, and it is important that these words are heard correctly. Different teachers speak either in a high or low frequency and at differing sound levels.

Auditory information is the main way of communicating information in the classroom; and also in our day-to-day living. If our auditory system is impaired, or not in balance, then the information forwarded to the brain for processing may not be clear.

We can shut our eyes if we want to block out sensory image information, but auditory information continues to flow relentlessly, as each sentence is replaced by yet another sentence. We are not able to compare this verbal flow of words with what we think we have heard, as it is constantly being superseded by the next verbal flow of information.

If the brain has to expend energy in order to unscramble even small amounts of information that is distorted, when you consider the volume of information we make sense of every hour of every day, it is no wonder some children/adults become tired and unable to focus for long periods. On the other hand, if someone is constantly being bombarded with sound information because they can hear certain frequencies too well, they may not be able to focus and concentrate. They may feel the need to fiddle with things, or move about and not be able to sit still for very long.

If you are concerned that your child may be experiencing difficulties with their hearing, Ashton Learning Centre is happy to listen to your concerns, and discuss ways in which treatment may help. For more information on our treatments please contact our centre on 0117 9661663 or email alc1@btinternet.com and we will be pleased to discuss your requirements.

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