How Music Therapy Promotes Better Hearing & Speech

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Content by Josh Pineda; Artwork by Sienna Holmes

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month. We here at Children’s Music Fund are showing support by sharing how music therapy can benefit child patients affected by hearing and communicative conditions.

Music heals by acting as a means of communication for patients, similar to that of speech therapy and rehabilitation. According to our founder and president Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, “Story building through music therapy becomes [a patient’s] voice and their words. Their musical instrument delivers the notes and lyrics that make up that story that needs to be communicated: Therein lies the therapy.” Music is a unique form of expression, and music therapy provides a fun and engaging method for child patients to cope with communicative disorders.

As we have previously noted, music therapy exercises help improve communication in patients. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Leadership Blog, there are five similarities between music and language, proving how music therapy can help reach wellness goals when combined with speech-language therapy. Those similarities are:

  • Distinct forms of music and language exist and vary across cultures
  • Music and Language are universal and specific to humans
  • Both have pitch, timbre, rhythm, and durational features
  • Spontaneous speech and spontaneous singing typically develop within infants at approximately the same time.
  • Music and language have auditory, vocal, and visual uses (both use written systems) and are built on structure and rules.

These are the reasons why many speech-pathology programs include co-treatment with music therapists, since both practices aim to heal in similar methods through use of personalized and sensory exercises. In this manner, music therapy has even proven to assist in toddler patient’s communication rehabilitation.

According to the Center for Better Hearing, “Music therapy can assist in the speech acquisition process in toddlers who have undergone cochlear implantation, as revealed in a new study by Dr. Dikla Kerem of the University of Haifa.” Dr. Kerem explains, “Music can constitute the bridge between the quiet world that the child knew and the new world of sounds that has been unfolded following the operation.” When individuals are still struggling with speech and language, music provides them with an introductory way of communicating and coping; music therapy techniques that can later be repeated applied for improvement of verbal communication. It is a healthy way to help introduce therapeutic techniques in a enjoyable and captivating fashion.

Music therapy is a valuable practice that helps promote better hearing and speech for chronically-ill children in and out of the hospital. Help CMF continue to provide music therapy programs to children with communicative conditions, by volunteering or donating today. Show support and tell the benefits of music therapy via theCMF.org

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