Bérard AIT (Auditory Integration Training)
What is Bérard AIT?
Dr. Guy Bérard, an ear, nose, and throat doctor from France, developed an auditory training system in the 1950s called Bérard Auditory Integration Training. Bérard AIT was developed to address auditory hypersensitivity, distortions, and delays in hearing that negatively impact auditory processing. The system uses music, fed through headphones to an individual, to train the middle and inner ear to better process auditory information.
This educational training system reorganizes the brain to improve auditory and sensory processing capabilities. The dysfunctional sensory center is changed so the brain no longer gets overloaded with disorganized information.
It has been shown to be effective for improving attention and focus, sensory processing, communication, confidence, behavioral issues, and school related skills of reading, spelling and writing.
Do I need to have a hearing test?
The Bérard AIT method includes three hearing tests: the first one is within 14 days of the start date, the second is between days 5 and 6, and the third one is within one week when the AIT is finished.
Those who are not able to complete an audio test can still be eligible for AIT, please speak to your practitioner for more information.
What if I don’t have a hearing problem?
Neither children nor adults have a reference point to assess their own hearing, for all we have is our own set of ears! Most clients who receive Bérard AIT have been found to have “normal” hearing, i.e. no hearing loss by their examining health practitioners.
Some sound frequencies may be heard many times more acutely than others. It is this imbalance that Bérard AIT remediates. Just as we keep our bodies in shape with activity, the ear and auditory function can also receive valuable training available through Bérard AIT.
Candidates for Auditory Integration Training
Candidates for AIT are individuals with dysfunctional auditory systems or skills. Symptoms of hyperacute hearing, hypoacute hearing or general auditory dysfunction are typically present. There can be an overlap between these categories. The minimum age is 3 years old.
Persons with characteristics of hyperacute hearing may display the following behaviors:
Covers ears with his/her hands
Cries in response to some environmental sounds
Says “it hurts my ears”
Runs away from sound
Learns better visually
Learns better one to one
Is easily overwhelmed in group situations
Persons with characteristics of hypoacute hearing may display the following behaviors:
Acts as if hard of hearing or deaf
Has short attention span
Doesn’t appear to understand oral directions
Responds to only part(s) of verbal directions
Needs physical prompts to follow verbal directions
Makes noise for noises sake
Learns better visually, tunes out
Persons with characteristics of general auditory dysfunction may display the following behaviors:
Responds to only part(s) of verbal instruction
Daydreams, attention drifts, can't stay focused
Needs repeated verbal instruction
Has trouble remembering what he/she has been told
Performs inconsistently in school
Is easily distracted by background noise
Shows a slow or delayed response time
Hears but does not seem to understand
Learns better visually, tunes out, has speech or language delays
How does Bérard AIT work?
A device called the Earducator ™ specifically modifies and modulates the music played during training, and can filter out specific frequencies in order to train the individual’s auditory system. This can enable functional changes to occur in the auditory processing areas of the brain.
How long does it take?
Bérard Auditory Integration Training requires ten days, with two-30 minute listening sessions (at least three hours apart) each day.
The following observations have been reported following Bérard AIT:
● Reduction of tantrums
● Decreased sensitivity to auditory stimuli
● Reduction in hyperactivity, increased attention
● Increased focus and ability to follow directions
● Increased confidence, socialization, and communication skills
● Improved reading, spelling and writing
● Improved sensory processing, and decreased sensory overload
● Improved spatial understanding
How do we know that Bérard AIT works?
Much research has been done regarding the success of Bérard AIT for the above claims. You can explore some of the studies conducted: http://www.berardaitwebsite.com/study-results/
DISCLAIMER: It is important that clients and their families and those who care for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities understand that Auditory Integration Training is not a cure. As with any treatment program, services are provided with the understanding that no guarantee of effectiveness in any specific case is made by the various service providers associated with Quest Academics.