Johansen IAS

What is Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation therapy?


I have all the brain wiring required for hearing, it’s just that it takes the scenic route. The long, zig-zaggy kind of path that makes some people carsick.

Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation Therapy uses special CD tracks of “music”, which you listen to for 10 minutes every day.  The Johansen music re-trains the way your brain processes sound, strengthening connections and giving the wiring a faster, more direct route.  

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Being diagnosed with a serious Auditory Processing Disorder was a huge relief. I always had a feeling that there was something wrong with me and I finally knew what it was! I never considered that I had difficulty with hearing because I wasn’t deaf. I often couldn’t understand what people said and found it hard to fit in at school. I thought that everyone’s hearing was the same as  mine, but they were smarter than me.

After listening to my first Johansen CD, I was selling crafts at a Christmas Fair when I realized that Christmas music had words. Until then, I’d just assumed that singers made mouth noises to go with the backing and just threw in the odd word. This time I heard whole strings of words. “Fee der war”, became Feed the World and music with lyrics felt less pointless.

Background noise started to become quieter, but then my hearing had a meltdown. Everything was disco-speaker loud, distorted, and I had a close call with a fast car I didn’t hear coming. Luckily my sister heard it and stopped me at the kerb.

This kind of problem isn’t normal for Johansen therapy. Most people improve without their hearing getting worse before it gets better. Camilla, my Johansen therapist said that I was her most complex case so far- and that this brick wall I hit in the middle of the treatment wasn’t something she’d seen before. But we kept going with the Johansen CDs, keeping in contact to carefully monitor my progress, and now I’m one of her successes. 

My brain was throwing its toys out of the pram and Retained Reflexes were to blame, conflicting with the Johansen therapy.  So I went to MLC Scotland. This meant re-wiring my brain again.

Finished at MLC and back on the Johansen CDs, my hearing started to improve and I heard every word in a proper song for the first time. After that I listened to music all the time, making up for a lifetime’s worth over about two years. I also discovered radio.  

Three years after the Christmas fair, my hearing is so good that I can even hear Metal lyrics, which is quite difficult sometimes. I listen to everything from Adele to ZZTop.

My hypersensitive hearing started toning down. Deafening traffic became loud and the squeaking security screens in shops stopped hurting my ears and driving me nuts. There was a huge reduction in background noise and I started hearing my own voice clearly for the first time. I wasn’t impressed. I slurred, stuttered and missed percussive sounds like Ss and Ts because they had seemed too loud.  I also spoke too quietly because at a normal volume I felt like I was shouting at people.  Everyone seemed to be used to the way I spoke apart from me. It was quite embarrassing.

I put effort into speaking more clearly and now I sound absolutely normal.

One day I realised that I could hear the distance and direction of cars on the road. This got rid of the anxiety I had around traffic, as well as lowering my chances of becoming roadkill.  

Loud noises no longer scaring the living daylights out of me, I took up drumming. My family aren’t as enthusiastic about this as I am.

Nowadays I still miss the odd word when I’m tired or distracted, and prefer watching telly with subtitles, but compared to my bad old APD days I’m like a new person. For a start, I’m no longer a hermit. Talking to people is easy and I discovered that I quite enjoy it. I’ve made lots of friends since my hearing got better, and got to know some old friends for the first time.

Every social skill I have has been learned over the past two years. I’ve had a lot to catch up with. Sarcasm, figures of speech, the different tones of voice for different moods, nuances and social signals.

Life is easier. I have more energy, catch less colds and can learn and do well in classes with lots of spoken information, which I used to find impossible. I love talking and having a laugh with my friends, and generally acting my age.


Johansen IAS hasn’t just given me my hearing. It’s given me the tools to be a normal person.



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