From the womb to the moment we die we are inescapably surrounded
by sound, and what we hear can either energize or deplete our nervous systems. It is no exaggeration to say that
what goes into our ears
can harm us or heal us.

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The Power of Sound is for everybody with ears. What we hear-and how we process it-has a far greater impact on our daily living than we realize. From the womb to the moment we die we are inescapably surrounded by sound, and what we hear can either energize or deplete our nervous systems. It is no exaggeration to say that what goes into our ears can harm us or heal us.

In The Power of Sound, Joshua Leeds explores music and sound as nutrients for the nervous system, and the importance of healthy auditory function. He investigates how noise- or stress-induced auditory dysfunction may result in difficulties in learning, communication, and social interactions, and explains new techniques designed to invigorate auditory skills.


Learn more about the book

The Power of Sound 2nd Edition


Acknowledgments xi
Preface xv
Introduction 1

Part One Sound

1 What Is Sound? 14
2 The Physics of Sound 19
3 The Mechanics of Hearing 28
4 Resonance, Entrainment, and Pattern Identification 36
5 Frequency Medicine: The Work of Alfred Tomatis 48

Part Two Sound Awareness

6 A New Awareness of Sound 64
7 Sonic Safety 77
8 Neuroscience and Music 88
9 Music and Sound in Your Life 93
10 Progressive Sound Health for the Hospital Environment 136
11 Animals and Sound 143
12 Current Sonic Media 156

Part Three A Guide to Soundwork Techniques and Applications

13 A Matter of Distinctions 160
14 The Building Blocks of Therapeutic Sound 164
15 Sonic Neurotechnologies 172
16 Applied Psychoacoustics for Health Care Practitioners 193
17 Advanced Sound Tools and Techniques 200
18 The Anatomy of Psychoacoustic Music Creation 232
19 The Sound and Music Alliance (SAMA) 253

Epilogue 258
Glossary 261 269
Sound Remedies Catalog 271
Music for The Power of Sound CD Track Listing 272
Notes 274
Bibliography 288
About the Author 292
Index 294

Frequency Medicine
The Amazing Work of Alfred Tomatis, MD

Author’s note. In September 2019, I was one of 35 participants at a Shift Network online event entitled, The Sound Healing Summit. During my interview, I was stunned that when I mentioned Dr. Tomatis–my primary mentor–the interviewer told me I was the only person who mentioned his name. How could the work of Tomatis be forgotten in such a short period time? Previously one could not attend a soundwork event without the name and work of Tomatis being omnipresent.

In my opinion, this man is the godfather of soundwork. Like Freud to psychoanalysis, Tomatis has presented groundbreaking principles for both the role of auditory function and sound therapy. And like Freud, Tomatis’s principles have been critically examined, edited, expanded, honed, and polished.

Because I am proud to stand on the shoulders of Dr. Tomatis and embrace the bones of his concepts, I feel it vitally important that the next generation of soundworkers be aware of his insight. Therefore, I’m enclosing a section of my writings devoted to Dr. Tomatis in The Power of Sound. I encourage anyone interested in the work of soundness to become versed in his concepts.

Core Principles of Alfred Tomatis

The primary function of the ear is to convert sound waves to electrochemical impulses that charge the neocortex of the brain.

Sound is a nutrient; we can either charge or discharge the nervous system by the sounds we take in through both air and bone conduction.

There is a distinction between hearing and listening. The two are related, but distinct, processes. Hearing is passive; listening is active. This corresponds to the difference between seeing and looking. Listening and looking are active focusing processes.

The quality of an individual’s listening ability will affect both spoken and written language development; listening ability also influences communication, thereby shaping the individual’s social development, confidence, and self-image.

The active process of listening can be enhanced or refocused by auditory stimulation using musical and vocal sounds rich in high frequencies. This entails the use of filtered and enhanced audiotapes employing the music of Mozart and Gregorian chant. Additionally, Tomatis has invented a device known as the Electronic Ear. One of its functions, accomplished through the effects of electronic gates and filters, is to reestablish the right ear as the dominant ear of hearing.

Communication is a process that begins in utero. The unborn child hears as early as the fourth month after conception. Sound actually helps grow the fetus’s brain and nervous system.

We can duplicate only the sounds we can hear. This is known as the Tomatis Effect.

Core Principles of Alfred Tomatis excerpted from The Power of Sound by
Joshua Leeds. Copies with permission of author, thank you.
(c) 2010 Joshua Leeds. All rights reserved.


Recommended Tomatis Reading

There are many worthy publications for deeper study of Alfred Tomatis. Some of my favorites include:

The Conscious Ear: My Life of Transformation Through Listening
by Alfred A. Tomatis | Feb 3, 1992

Listening for Wellness: An Introduction to the Tomatis Method
by Pierre Sollier | Jun 1, 2005

When Listening Comes Alive: A Guide to Effective Learning and Communication
by Paul Madaule | Jan 1, 1994

The Ear and the Voice
by Alfred A. Tomatis, Roberta Prada, et al. | Dec 3, 2004

About the Tomatis Method
by Paul Madaule, Tim Gilmor | Jan 1, 1989

The Power of Sound: How to Be Healthy and Productive Using Music and Sound
by Joshua Leeds | Aug 30, 2010