July 21, 2022 | By Dr. Leah Light
Hearing and processing sound involves many parts of the brain and its senses. For many years, scientists studied our senses as though they were completely separate units. We now know that this is not true. Our senses are highly integrated and interrelated. They connect with our brains, organs, glands, and even our digestive system like a finely tuned orchestra. Think about it…. can you remember hearing something very spooky that made you shiver or the hair on the back of your neck stand up?
When it comes to hearing, scientists in the 1970s began to realize that our system of touch, or somatosensory system, is linked to our hearing. This is particularly true of young children and teens. Dr. Aage Moller, a neuroscientist at UT Dallas, showed that sounds a listener heard changed in volume as they received a particular signal from their touch system at the same time. We also know that if you see a person making one sound on their lips, yet you hear another a different sound, the brain will perceive a third sound. This example, called the McGurk effect, shows how our vision and hearing work together for precision tuning. For this reason, children who are sensitive to touch or loud sounds and are treated for “sensory processing disorders” should receive multisensory signals so that the brain can build strong networks. These neural networks lead to faster and more accurate information processing, making learning easier and more fun.
At Brainchild Institute, we use techniques from the Masgutova Method to help integrate the senses to reach self-regulation, the ability to control our responses to sensory inputs rather than being reactive to them.