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What Is Therapeutic Listening?

Marjorie McAtee
By
Updated Feb 09, 2024
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Therapeutic listening is a type of music therapy intended to help children with sensory processing disorder, and a host of other disorders, including autism, learning disabilities, Down syndrome, and ADD/ADHD. The therapy generally involves listening to music through headphones, both at home and at school. Therapeutic listening sessions usually last from half and hour to 45 minutes, and are usually undertaken about twice daily. Evaluative sessions are normally required every three weeks or so, and the typical course of therapeutic listening lasts for about three months. This type of therapy is said to help improve coordination, communication, motor control, bodily functions, social skills, and organization.

Children with disorders such as autism, ADHD or sensory processing disorder often have problems perceiving and understanding both internal and external sensory information. As a result, children may have problems regulating bodily functions, communicating, moving through the environment, paying attention, and concentrating. They may lack good social skills. Expressing emotions, or perceiving and understanding the emotions of others, may also prove difficult for them. Therapeutic listening seeks to solve these problems by regularly exposing children to music, and encouraging them to perform various physical and mental tasks while doing so.

Experts believe that music therapy can have a range of benefits for children suffering from sensory processing and other types of disorders that affect brain function and concentration. Many children have been found to sleep better and exercise more control over bodily functions after music therapy of this nature. They will typically display tighter hand-eye coordination and finer motor skills. Balance and posture is said to improve, as does handwriting, speech, and emotional expressiveness. Children generally feel more relaxed after undergoing this type of music therapy, and are better able to exercise the social skills necessary to form relationships and bond with parents and caregivers.

Tasks considered central to therapeutic listening can include exercises, drawing, and building with blocks. Therapists typically choose specialized music intended to relax the child and stimulate whole brain function. It is believed that the music used during therapeutic listening helps children concentrate and learn more effectively. It may help support function of the inner ear structures that regulate balance and coordination. This music may help children better perceive sounds and emotions, and may help to stimulate parts of the brain responsible for oral communication and body language.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
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Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
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