Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) is a therapeutic listening program that many of the children who receive occupational therapy at our clinic use during their sessions to support their development and progress toward their goals. What exactly is iLs and what does it do? Read on to find out!


What is Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)?

  • “iLs programs include classical music that has been acoustically modified to provide enhanced or filters signals in certain frequencies, as specific frequencies are believed to be correlated to certain brain functions. The music is loaded on an iPod paired with special headphones, which deliver it through both air and bone conduction (a low frequency vibration that is conducted by bone to the cochlea and vestibular system). Simultaneous to the auditory component, the user engages in visual, vestibular, and motor exercises which maximize the interaction of the systems…” (Integrated Listening Systems, 2016)


How does it work?

  • The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is important during emergencies that require us to “fight” or take “flight), while the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) allows us to “rest and digest” during nonemergency situations. Through iLs, gentle stimulation of the PNS balances the ANS, which is reflected by an increased ability to express oneself calmly.
  • The focus is on neuroplasticity. The bone conduction provides slight stimulation to particular areas of the brain that help activate specific neural pathways related to sensory processing.


What are the benefits?

  • Attention and Regulation: The combination of sound and movement aids in improving the ability of the brainstem and the cerebellum to process sensory information leading to the cortex.
  • Auditory and Sensory Processing: Repeated visual, vestibular, and auditory input train the cerebellum to efficiently process multisensory information.
  • Learning Ability: The goal is to train the ear and the brain to analyze and process sound more quickly and accuratel The iLs Reading/Auditory Processing Program focuses on the mid-range frequencies of the English language to train one’s sense of pitch discrimination. As a result of repeated listening, the vestibulo-cochlear system improves its ability to transfer auditory information to the brain (Integrated Listening Systems, 2016).


Who can benefit from iLs?

  • iLs has been used by people with PDD-NOS, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, brain stem injury, ADHD, anxiety, etc.
  • Age Range: 22 months – 80 years
  • Personalized playlists are created to specifically address the individual’s needs.
  • Headphones can be worn throughout OT sessions for approximately one hour or more and at home during non-screen time activities. However, they must be worn at a frequency of at least two days per week to be effective.


Supplemental products:

  • The Dreampad
  • Integration Kit and Playbook
  • iLs Portal
  • iLs Focus Series
  • iLs Pro Series


Resources: Integrated Listening Systems. (2019).