Below, you will find information on how to improve attention and memory with auditory processing techniques, specifically through auditory feedback. We’re sharing information regarding an auditory processing tool and auditory attention activities to utilize auditory feedback to promote attention and memory within functional tasks. Attention to language, aspects of sound, and auditory memory skills can be impacted by auditory attention. This as well as auditory sensitivities can impact learning and functional participation in everyday tasks.
On a daily basis, therapy providers witness the strong connections between attention and memory, and their influence on function. They’re also able to prescribe customized therapy programs that ameliorate each level of auditory processing needed to carry out a task. Activities that work multiple systems while strengthening the foundation of function help to streamline therapy and meet goals. This wholistic approach is a hallmark of the occupational therapy profession.
We’ve shared various auditory processing activities here on The OT Toolbox. Today, we’re chatting about auditory feedback and the part this plays in improving attention needed in learning. You can find additional resources and activities like this auditory feedback tool at the bottom of this post.
Memory and Attention are the Foundations for Learning
Memory and attention work together in the brain to form the basis of our cognitive abilities. Attention is the ability to process information—sometimes selectively—and memory is the ability to store that information for retrieval as needed.
This foundation impacts everything we do, including basic cognitive tasks (such as brushing our teeth) and more complex tasks (like playing a musical instrument).
What is Auditory Feedback
Auditory Feedback is a natural process in the human body that helps us understand and modulate sound and speech signals in real time. When we speak, our ears receive the signal, and our brains make sense of it.
In the case of vocalizations, and to a greater extent speech, our brains modulate the productions in real time so that we can quickly adapt, ensuring our message is accurate.
Strengthening the Foundation
Simply using the auditory feedback system—or auditory feedback loop—is one way to ensure that memory and attention continue to work well. We do this every day by listening to sounds and speaking.
In order to improve these skills, we need to challenge the brain in specific ways. We know that the brain is plastic; it is a living organ that changes and adapts to the needs of the body. I
f someone stops using their left arm, the brain will strengthen connections to the right arm to compensate. Furthermore, the neural connections that aren’t being used for the left arm will start to deteriorate, which is hard evidence for the “use it or lose it” adage.
Practical and Results-Focused Brain Training
Disclosure: Affiliate links are included below.
Capitalizing on the audio-feedback loop and its ability to improve memory and attention in the brain is the business of Forbrain® Bone Conduction Headphones. With these headphones, a simple task can become a multi-faceted memory and attention-boosting transformation.
Bone conduction hearing is ten times quicker than air conduction and while using Forbrain, which includes a microphone and a dynamic filter, manipulated sound stimuli reach the brain quicker, and are presented in a way that’s naturally challenging.
Challenging the brain is synonymous with growing the brain!
The use of bone conduction headphones has been proven to improve therapy outcomes. One study suggests that there is a real basis for the claims that Forbrain can improve voice quality and the executive attentional mechanisms and memory. The results suggest that an auditory feedback device such as Forbrain® could be helpful in improving focus in those who have attention disorders such as ADHD, and those who have difficulties with speech production and auditory processing (Escera).
For more information on the bones in the ears, check out this list of bone names which covers all of the bones in the body.
Easy auditory Attention activities:
These auditory attention activities are easy ways to to improve attention through auditory processing. These strategies can be used at any age, and depend on the need. Learners that struggle with listening comprehension will find strategies that impact attention. Younger children will benefit from quick activities such as nursery rhymes and clapping games that impact auditory attention skills at an age-appropriate level.
It’s as simple as wearing the headphones while carrying out auditory feedback activities during therapy or during everyday tasks. All of these strategies impact auditory memory.
Examples of activities might include:
- Reading a book or poetry aloud
- Reciting nursery rhymes
- Clapping games and movement activities
- Practicing tone and pitch while singing
- Playing a musical instrument
- Memorizing material for an exam
- Performing exercises to improve posture and diaphragmatic breathing
- Here are more strategies for helping auditory learners by using auditory feedback within learning tasks
- This Fall-themed auditory processing activity is easy to incorporate right in the backyard.
- More outdoor and backyard auditory processing activities can be completed with a device such as a headset
- Practice auditory feedback using a DIY whisper phone.
- Use our Auditory Processing Kit.
Forbrain isn’t just for therapists or those of us in a therapy program. If you or someone you know can benefit from the improved memory and attention abilities that Forbrain provides, read more about using a bone conduction headset and grab one of your ownn here.
Escera, C. (2015). A scientific single case study on speech, auditory processing and attentional strengthening with Forbrain® . Retrieved from Agency name website: https://www.forbrain.com/uploads/editor/files/Scientific_Research_Forbrain-Carles_Escera-Summary_Report.pdf
The Auditory Processing Kit is a tool to support learners by building skills in listening comprehension, auditory processing needs, and much more. The tools offer support to learners with hyper-responsive or hypo-responsive auditory systems. Therapists love the hands-on activities to support learning and active listening through play and handwriting tasks.
- Listening Comprehension
- Fine Motor Listening Skills
- How to Improve Listening Skills Poster
- Clap It Out Syllables Orthographic Activities
- Beginning Sounds Letter Activity
- Rhyming Words Activity
- Activity Listening Activity
- Hearing Skills Activity
- Auditory Memory Strategies
- What Does Active Listening Look Like?
- Whole Body Listening Activity
- Whole Body Listening Poster
- Listening and Motor Skills Game
- 2 Step Direction Cards
- How to Support Hyper-Responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
- How to Support Hypo-responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
- Auditory Processing Tools Cards
- Auditory Processing Speed -2 Digit Numbers
- Auditory Processing Speed -3 Digit Numbers
- Auditory Processing Speed -4 Digit Numbers
Use the handouts and posters to teach about the auditory system and auditory challenges, with strategies to support individualized needs. Get your copy of the Auditory Processing Kit today.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.