Berard AIT – auditory integration training – is a procedure that trains people to listen more accurately. Dynamic music with a wide range of frequencies is processed through a system of filters in the AIT device, the Earducator. The volume and tone of the music are constantly and randomly modulated. This auditory stimulus activates the listening abilities, which then open up to the whole sound spectrum in a coordinated and efficient manner.
Dr. Guy Berard from Annecy in France, developed AIT for his own hearing problems While testing the Audiokinetron, he worked with his daughter, aged 12, and found that her central auditory processing problems vanished after listening to the music through the system. He also found that the training was of benefit to children and adults with learning disorders and dyslexia.
Some autistic children were brought to him for help and so it was that an American girl Georgina Stehli, age 11, landed in his rooms. Thought to be retarded, diagnosed autistic, dyslexic and psychotic, Georgie’s extreme auditory sensitivity underwent such a profound change during AIT that she recovered from autism. She graduated from college with a magna cum laude, speaks five languages and is married and the mother of a lovely girl. The AIT procedure was popularized in America especially under the autistic related population as a result of Georgie’s phenomenal recovery.
AIT was introduced into South Africa in the early 1990’s as an intervention for sound sensitivity and auditory processing problems. The majority of children who received AIT were those on the autistic spectrum. Parents and teachers began to report important changes in the area of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that they observed in the children following AIT. It soon became apparent that many of these children not only showed improvements in a reduced level of sound sensitivity and auditory problems, but also exhibited improvement in their attention span. The children were more peaceful, relaxed, they could sit still, shift their attention and concentrate better.
It is obvious that people who cannot hear well will experience difficulties in many aspects of life, and particularly that children who cannot hear well will be at a great disadvantage in school. In his book “Hearing Equals Behavior” dr. Guy Berard states that in his practice as an otorhinolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat specialist – he worked with many children whose hearing problems were affecting their schoolwork.
He came to two important conclusions. Firstly, there was a direct connection between poor hearing and disruptive classroom behaviour. Secondly, he found that there were variations in hearing dysfunction, and that either abnormal sensitivity or abnormal
insensitivity to certain frequencies – rates of vibration – of sound waves, independent of overall hearing ability, were clearly associated with many behaviour and learning problems, including hyperactivity and dyslexia.
A course of Berard Auditory Integration Training brings about, in almost every case, a normalization of the response to the frequencies involved and, almost always, the amelioration of the behaviour or learning problems. Dr Berard found that in over 2,000 cases of learning/behaviour problems three-quarters of the clients showed very positive results and the remaining demonstrated noticeable partial improvement; none failed to show some benefit.
At Hearing & Health this intervention is also used for older people who suffer hearing loss and a loss of speech understanding. After a comprehensive audiological assessment, the client will be fitted with hearing aids if necessary. Even clients with normal hearing, who have a speech perception problem benefit greatly from a course of auditory integration training.