Tag Archives: mother’s voice

The Man Behind the Name

Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis was the French doctor who developed the Tomatis Method.

If you search about him through the internet, you will be bombarded with loads of uncertain facts about this man (his actual birthdate, the controversy behind his medical practice, his methods of research).  However, one main thing that is definitely true is that he was a Renaissance Man, whose unique ideas and work were greatly notable way before his time.  Dr. Tomatis was, after all, one of the first doctors who established the fact that fetuses in the womb can already hear their mother’s voice while in gestation, and that this phenomenon has a great effect on the development of the child.

If you wish to learn more about this fascinating man, I would recommend that you read his autobiography, The Conscious Ear: My Life of Transformation Through Listening.  The book begins dramatically enough with Dr. Tomatis describing his traumatic birth, and how his 16-year old mother wantonly disregarded him.

“It is useless to bother with him.  He’s dead.”

These were the first words my ears heard when I left my mother’s womb, though I certainly didn’t understand them.

However, if you continue on, you will discover how he survived, with the help of his father, Umberto, into a successful man in his field.  It is especially delightful to read how young Dr. Alfred helped his father’s colleagues in the opera world regain their singing voices.  Other captivating anecdotes in the book include:  how he came to Paris all alone as an 11-year old boy; how he began his research into Occupational Deafness through the unwitting help of the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso; and how he lost nearly a hundred pounds through a self-imposed starvation regimen.

There is no doubt about it, the man is truly eccentric, acerbic, and demanding.  But the work Dr. Tomatis has left behind was born from a genuine soul who did all he could to help other people.  And today, through the administration of the Tomatis Method, the doctor’s legacy lives on.