Description: AIT is an intervention in which the service provider identifies sounds to which the participant is believed to be over- or under-sensitive. Then music with selected high and low frequencies is presented via headphones to the participant. Certain frequencies, such as those to which the participant is over- or under-sensitive, may be completely or partially filtered from the music. In Auditory Processing Training, speech sounds are dilated or expanded (i.e., presented more slowly than in typical speech), and then compressed as the student progresses.
Examples: Tomatis method, Bernard Method, Earobics, FastForward, Binaural Beat Technology
Research Summary: Several small studies of AIT have obtained mixed results, with some studies showing benefits and others failing to do so (Sinha, Silove, Wheeler, & Williams, 2005). Additional studies are needed to evaluate AIT more conclusively.
The 2002 American Speech and Hearing Association Work Group on AIT, after reviewing empirical research in the area to date, concludes that AIT has not met scientific standards for efficacy that would justify its practice by audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
Recommendations: Researchers may wish to conduct large studies with strong scientific designs to obtain more conclusive evidence on whether AIT is effective or not. Professionals should present AIT as untested and encourage families who are considering this intervention to evaluate it carefully.
Systematic reviews of scientific studies:
Mudford, O. C. and Cullen, C. (2005). Auditory Integration Training: A Critical Review (1991-2014). In R. M. Foxx & J. A. Mulick (Eds.) (2016). Controversial Therapies for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Fads, Fashion and Science in Professional Practice. (pp. 269-282). New York, NY: Routledge.
Sinha, Y., Silove, N., Wheeler, D., & Williams, K. (2011). Auditory integration training and other sound therapies for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12. . doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003681.pub3
Position statements from professional organizations:
ASHA (2004) Auditory Integration Training. ASHA Supplement 24.