Frequently Asked Questions About Filtered Sound Training

Are The Results Lasting?

The benefits of FST will develop in the period between the beginning of training, and around four months after it ends.  Research and experience have shown that these benefits remain, unless one of the following happens:

  • An ear infection occurs
  • Listening to music through headphones
  • Exposure to loud music .
  • Ongoing unresolved metabolic problems. (the allergy or dietary imbalances that caused the upset in the first place, could still be raging unresolved, and will produce the same problem again after a while, unless addressed.)
Can My Child Do FST While There Are Grommets – PE Tubes in Place?

We always recommend that if there is any medical concern, such as middle-ear infections, or the presence of PE tubes / grommets, you should get a letter of clearance from your doctor before doing FST. FST is never done during an active ear infection, just as you would not exercise while sick or feverish. However, if the doctor approves doing FST while the grommets / PE tubes are in place, then FST may be done.

Some PE tubes are long-lasting, and it would not be feasible in any case to wait for three years or more until they are removed before having some help for listening skills.

Does FST Damage Hearing?

In all the years that FST has been performed, there has never been any case of harm resulting from this training.

Although the filtered music is louder than loud speech, it is within safety limits for noise.

AIT does not decrease painful hearing by causing hearing loss, as some have mistakenly supposed. Instead there seems to be an improvement in all-round hearing function,  which is probably the reason why painful hearing is helped.

How Can You Tell Who Is A Good Candidate For The Training?

At this time it still looks as though this training can benefit anybody who uses his / her hearing and wants to improve their listening skills…. Which of course means most people.

There has been a lot of media attention around the benefits to disabilities like Dyslexia and Autism, but  this method of training also has benefited bright top-achievers who want to boost their marks.

It has been said of this training: it is for those who want it, not only for those who need it.

Since it has been well-proven that it is non-invasive, and does not harm the hearing (contrary to what the  critics warn! ), it may be worthwhile for interested individuals to see if FST can benefit them.

How Can I Select An Approved Practitioner?

You will find a list of FST practitioners on this website. Their listing verifies that they were trained and certificated, and possess the FST programme.

The fact that their names appear on the listing should in no way be seen as an endorsement of their practice. Each practitioner is personally responsible for maintaining a high standard of service delivery and adherance to the basic principles of FST in their own practices and client-care policies.

How Important Is The Listening Test?

Dr Bérard always taught that the listening graph is a very important part of the pre-training evaluation, IF IT CAN BE OBTAINED.

Sometimes a graph cannot be obtained, for a number of reasons:
  • There is no audiologist at hand who is aware of how to test for FST . (This testing is not the same as the test for hearing loss, it is very important to note this difference.)
  • The client is not able to attend to sound closely enough to perform the accurate test…this being the case, the whole effort of going through the test experience is useless for the purposes of FST.
What we are trying to achieve is an accurate view of the person’s graph to enable us to see if there are certain peaks present that could need extra filters set during the sessions. Often, even when an accurate graph is obtained, there are no further filters set anyway because there is no further indication to do so. Only certain filters are set, and only under special circumstances.
Dr Bérard himself strongly advised against over-stressing the listening graphs.  The graphs are used chiefly to make decisions about the setting of the extra filters. Dr Bérard taught that it was better to set no filters than to set the wrong filters.
He recommended that we do not attempt to test people with autism.
Since there is so little evidence that the extra filters are really necessary, it is not best practice to pressure the client with autism and the difficult-to-test client to obtain a graph. Besides, counsels Dr Bérard, if the client has become resistant to wearing headphones during the testing experience, one has difficulty to have them wear earphones during FST .
At this time the research results do not show that anyone who had the extra filters set during the sessions has had a better result than someone who had no filters set. In fact it seems that the basic FST sessions are what make the improvements. It is in fact not proven what benefit the extra filters add, if any.
Research will in time give clearer information about this.
If I Cannot Get A Listening Test Can I Still Do The Sessions?

Some practitioners of AIT have confused clients by insisting that one cannot do the training at all unless the need for it has been identified on a listening test.

This is incorrect, since Dr Bérard himself said that one should not test people with autism , but that one can treat them with the basic settings. Thus clearly one does not use the listening test to screen clients, nor to decide who can benefit from training.

Specialist audiologists who are AIT practitioners will point out that we are not training the audio-graph, but the person with the problem.  Therefore what is of much greater importance is the person’s difficulty, not their graph.

The value of the graph is only to decide about the extra filter settings.  These are not appropriate in many cases , and FST is effective even without these extra settings.

Is The Training Only For Painful Hearing?

Many people think FST  is only for painful hearing. This is not true. Painful hearing is just one kind of auditory condition that responds to FST . There are many more,e.g.

  1. auditory awareness,
  2. ‘tuning out’,
  3. auditory memory,
  4. understanding what is heard,
  5. attending to what is heard,
  6. discrimination of sounds, and many more aspects of listening that we don’t even at this time fully know about.

Many people with attention problems have benefited from training, and also people with reading and spelling problems, who had no hypersensitive hearing.

Is There A Minimum Age To Receive The Training?

There are different opinions around this question. Some believe one should wait until the child is 3 years old before doing an auditory treatment.

This point of view begs the question to be answered:- ‘Why leave a child with an obvious problem for so long before getting help to them, when they are missing important learning every day ?’ Language learning develops so rapidly in the early years, that even one missed week can have lifelong results… let alone three years of missed information due to poor auditory processing.

Since  there is no research or evidence to argue in favour of waiting for three years, some people elect to have their children undergo the training as soon as the difficulty becomes evident. This could mean by the age of 12 to 18 months.

The final decision is for the user to make.

What Is The Point Of Doing The Listening Test?

The benefit of obtaining the listening graph, is chiefly to confirm whether to set the training for both ears equally loudly (which is the usual case).  It is also used  to check for certain peaks of hyper-sensitive hearing that might exist, in which case the practitioner might (only might!) decide to set some special filters.

The graphs are done before, half-way through, and at the end of the sessions, if possible.

The final graph is not the one that shows the benefits of FST  … These will only be seen at the three-or four-months post-training test.  The tenth / eleventh day graph merely shows the graph in the process of change, and often many interesting changes are seen.

The changes we look for from FST are not the ones immediately after the sessions end alone, but more importantly up to four months post-training.

Which Are The Correct Standards of Practice For AIT?

Various websites give ‘questions to ask your practitioner’. The most important confidence you can have  is probably word-of-mouth, backed by checking whether the practitioner is listed on this website.

It is worth knowing that some difference of opinion has arisen amongst practitioners about the so-called ‘filtering procedure’ of Bérard AIT. One body that presents itself as being the ‘true’ AIT representatives is insisting on following a filtering protocol that is not supported by research or scientific information.

The FST website attempts to give the more standard , audiologically and scientifically supported protocol as originally taught by Dr Bérard.

Which Are The Correct Standards of Practice For FST?

These would be the same as for the AIT practitioners. Certificated practitioners of FST are listed on this website.

While every effort is made to ensure that practitioners are trained to the necessary degree of expertise, it remains the responsibility of the individual practitioners to keep abreast of developments and always follow good practice standards.

Listing on this website does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the individual practitioner’s actions or methods of practice.

Who Will Get The Most Benefit?

It is still not possible to tell beforehand who will get the most benefit from the sessions. Usually it seems that the greater the handicapping problem, the more obvious will be the benefit. The reason for this is easy to understand… there’s more to see, there’s more room for improvement!

Everybody gets some benefit—only sometimes it’s not necessarily the benefit they were looking for. For example:-  A stubborn difficult child with dyslexia is brought by his parents for training to help his behaviour … his behaviour doesn’t change but his dyslexia does!  He received a benefit, but not the one his parents were hoping for the most.

To help keep aware of the changes happening in other areas besides the main focus, the Daily Log Of Behaviours Checklist is completed during training, to encourage parents to look with a wider perspective.

Why Should The Listener Not Wear Earphones To Listen To Music After Training?

Experience has shown that when people wear earphones to listen to music, their hearing develops distortions – and that is true for all listeners.

When we have adjusted the auditory response through this intensive method, using earphones… it is easy to understand that wearing earphones afterwards to listen to music can undo this adjustment again.
It might have something to do with the intensity and single-focus of listening through earphones. Whatever the cause, it is a risk not worth taking.

Another  way to lose the benefit of the training, is through exposure to music played very loudly, e.g. at rock concerts, certain live performances, and the way some people listen to their music turned all the way up. Again, it stands to reason that prolonged, intense stimulation of the listening pathways will re-adjust the way it functions… thus it is essential at all times to protect the ear from exposure to loud music.

FST delivers about 80dBA to the ear. The sound level meter which is in the package, should be used to check the loudness of the sounds one is being exposed to after the training, so that one can avoid risk.

We sadly live in a society that thinks it is ‘fun’ to go deaf! – so at gigs, discos, restaurants, concerts and weddings the music is played so loudly that one’s ears ring for days afterwards. The consequences are dire and sometimes irreversible.

It would benefit everyone to take steps to eliminate noise pollution as it impacts on them.