The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.
The hearing sense perceives the sounding element and reveals intimate knowledge of the nature of something. The nine year old starts to experience things more deeply and can take an interest in music, though this is most often connected to what is around them. It is from about fourteen years old we can crave a connection to hear the nature of something else, and we start to relate to particular genres of music or artists that have a similar resonance to our own, or that give a mood-altering resonance. It may be obvious from early in life when a person is ‘musically gifted’. Yet the capacity to hear the other without judgment or pain is part of the process of maturation that can vary greatly depending on how the person was influenced as a young child in their sensitivity to listen.
Hyper sense of hearing
A person with hyper sensitive hearing is oversensitive to sound, sometimes to the point of pain. They can be affected when a sound is out of key, tone, pitch, rhythm, or the volume is not measured. A child can experience this sensitivity from when they are very young. They can discern individual sounds and the resonance that is left in the space by the sound or movement of a person or object. They can enter deeply into the sound, losing themselves in it with pleasure; or they can be disturbed by it. A child will find it difficult, if not impossible not to be affected by the resonance. They may repeatedly create or play one particular sound, having a desire for it to resonate in them. Or their inner space may feel so penetrated that they have to leave the room or area, or put their hands over their ears to block the sound.
Hypo sense of hearing
A person with a lack of differentiation between various sounds, tending towards deafness, has a hypo sense of hearing. They can’t assess the pitch, and they may not notice the resonance or differentiation that the tone has left in the space. The ‘vibe’ is not very noticeable for them. They could use a loud or quiet voice and not realise it, or not necessarily change it to suit the environment.
How to harmonise and support the development of the hearing sense
The sense of hearing can be developed by listening to live music, through which we can truly meet the other behind the sound. Those raising children will support them by singing a variety of songs, rhythm and harmony around the home and encouraging the desire to enter into seeking for the inner balance or source of the tone and of the resonance that remains in the space. Quiet times are also important. The pentatonic scale can only produce harmony, therefore, can be harmonising on the sense of hearing and is an especially therapeutic sound with which to fill the room in the early years. Provide handmade instruments and natural objects to listen to the different sounds that can be created. Allow an adolescent to experiment with a wide variety of music styles, sounds and noises, at the same time as giving them something by which to gauge their taste and the volume of what they do so that they can come towards a healthy measure and wide variety of music.