The Brain

The brain is plastic

Yes, the ability of the brain to change is known as neuroplasticity (also called brain plasticity, or brain malleability). It is the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. For example, if one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere may take over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage in effect by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity. The same is true for parts of the brain compensating for injury or disease.

The brain is the seat of our language and thinking, and much of our creativity and learning. We now know that the brain is continuously plastic and remains adaptable into old-age and that it is not hard-wired in childhood. Perhaps more that anyone, Norman Doidge has popularised the concept of continuous adaptability which is called neuroplasticity1
The brain continuously learns by experience – by recognising and mapping the sensory inputs that represent the repeating events in our lives. This is how our brain works out what is important and what is not and allow us to predict what is likely to happen next. With each new experience, as we build knowledge and new skills, our brains are continuously remodelled, to respond more and more fluidly to the stream of events that make up our lives.

The cerebellum

Learning can be likened to a powerful computer processor, transferring vast amounts of information to the movement, language, reasoning, sensory, and emotion parts of the brain; it’s role is so important that it contains more nerve cells than the rest of the brain combined.

The cerebellum writes programs, for instance when you learnt to balance on your bicycle and could multi-task. This is because the cerebellum wrote the bike riding program. So the cerebellum is involved with every aspect of learning. Every time you repeat a task and it becomes easier, you can thank your cerebellum.
More recently, much research has been carried out on the cerebellum’s role in learning. It plays a large role in making things become automatic – an ability known as “automaticity”.

Rhythm and timing: The cerebellum, which lies immediately above the brain stem, has long been known to control the rhythm and timing of movement. The vestibular system and the cerebellum constantly interact to give expression to the rhythm and timing of complex movements. 

Integrating: The cerebellum allows us to practice activities until they become automatic. This can only happen when we integrate what we see, hear and feel with all our senses. When the cerebellum doesn’t work properly, we have a learning difficulty. For example reading becomes difficult and frustrating. Imagine having to start all over again every time you try to learn the alphabet, or ride a bike, or spell…

Coordinating: The cerebellum coordinates sensory information being sent to the brain. It generates meaning from what we feel, sense and think. The cerebellum allows us to multi-task – to sit still at a desk and copy from the board, to drive a car and talk with the kids or to ride a bike and continue a conversation with a mate.


How can listening therapy help?

Listening programs stimulate cerebellar activity. This builds new connections in the brain to improve reading, writing, spelling and maths skills. Our programs stimulate the brain to develop connections which allow us to complete our daily tasks with less effort. Allowing you to automate everyday tasks like getting ready for school (organising), playing football (hand-eye coordination, predicting, responsivity) or playing with mates in the playground (decoding verbal and non-verbal signals, socialising).

Improving blood flow

Listening therapy improves the clarity of sound messages reaching the brain by increasing blood flow to the auditory pathways. This increased blood flow also strengthens the auditory pathways .The circulatory system is one of the primary channels for the flow of vibrational energy through the body.

  1. Norman Doidge, The brain that changes itself, Penguin, 2007. /Norman Doidge, The brains way of healing, Scribe, 2015.
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