Forbrain: Training for Speech, Attention and Sensory Integration
In recent years there has been increased attention on the notion of direct brain training to help with specific disabilities. These various procedures have built on growing neuroscience knowledge and research on brain plasticity.
Some of these techniques, like qEEG neurofeedback, are designed to retrain brain waves and the underlying brain activity they represent. Other techniques, like Audio Visual Entrainment (AVE), are also designed to change brainwave frequencies getting the user into different levels of neurological arousal.
Forbrain's approach to direct brain training differs from other techniques in important ways. The technology is relatively simple, can be used anywhere, is inexpensive and used to retrain the brain directly by modulating auditory and sensory processing. Based on years of research, the technology has been shown to help with language acquisition, speech delays, reading, memory, attention and sensory integration. Indeed, the overall goal of Forbrain is better sensory integration attained by fine-tuning the auditory process. How does Forbrain do this? Watch the video below -
Forbrain and Auditory Processing
Normal auditory processing occurs via air conduction through the ears. Sounds are passed from the outer to the middle ears and are eventually converted to nerve signals and sent to the brain. Forbrain changes this process. Consisting of a headset, microphone, and dynamic filter, it changes the auditory process by using bone conduction rather than air conduction. If you want to know what bone conduction sounds (and feels) like, stick your fingers in your ear and talk out loud.
Bone conduction is the way we typically hear our own voices. However, the amplified bone conduction in Forbrain is louder and clearer than air conduction, helping the brain pay attention. But Forbrain isn't just about sticking your fingers in your ears.
Forbrain's dynamic filter doesn't just clarify the bone conduction sounds it also subtly varies the frequencies, which requires the brain to pay closer attention to the auditory information. The combination of bone conduction and the dynamic filter thus retrains the brain, sharpening its focus to auditory input in particular and sensory stimulation in general.
Auditory processing is very important in language acquisition and linguistic skills generally, including reading. Each language has a natural rhythm and musicality that native users intuitively understand, enabling them to break down sounds into identifiable and meaningful phonemes, and these become the basis of word recognition and reading (Learn more about phonological awareness here). When this process is disrupted, however, children aren't able to easily break down these basic sounds leading to difficulties in speech recognition and understanding that can manifest as dyslexia.
Auditory processing is implicated in sensory processing in general. Think about how accompanying sounds help define the context and even meaning of what we observe. And the auditory system is also involved in spatial orientation. If this seems odd, think about the importance of being able to identify the direction of the sound, which is obviously related to where we are in physical space. The fine tuning of the auditory system thus goes far beyond just being able to hear and attend better. Moreover, there is a complex, unconscious sensorimotor feedback loop that helps us modify our speech. By retraining this system, Forbrain potentially is giving the brain a sensory work-out.
Doctor Carles Escera, a cognitive neuroscience specialist, director of the Institute for the Brain, Cognition, and Behavior at the University of Barcelona has reviewed Forbrain and writes on existing research that...
"Studies reveal that the encoding of sound properties in the auditory system can be modified by different forms of training; this is particularly relevant because, as shown in some of the studies, these training programs can ameliorate deficits in several pathological conditions, such as in dyslexia, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders or the consequences of normal aging on speech-in-noise perception."
Anecdotal evidence about Forbrain's efficacy can be found at the Forbrain website. Numerous testimonials suggest that the device has been helpful for people struggling with various conditions including expressive language delay, speech and language difficulties, memory and attention issues, pronunciation and fluency.