Arts & Services for Disabled, Inc. in Long Beach is helping improve the lives of individuals with disabilities by harnessing the power of a new drum technology designed to be accessible to the disabled community, Comfort Sound Technology.
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Created by the Santa Clarita-based drum and drumhead manufacturer Remo Inc., Comfort Sound Technology is a drumhead composite material that delivers a unique quality of sound by suppressing high-frequency overtones.
“I work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so sensory input can be highly sensitive on many different levels,” said Helen Dolas, CEO and founder of Arts & Services for Disabled. “(Comfort Sound Technology) creates a softer sound, a softer overtone for my students.”
This softer sound is the result of a focused low frequency that Dolas described as “easier on the ear,” as well as a shortened timing of the actual sound of the drum. Improved articulation and a shortened decay also means that when the person strikes the drum, it won’t reverberate into a very long sound.
“I have some students who may not particularly like to be in a room with a lot of noise and sounds that may be bouncing off of the walls acoustically and creating too much sensory input,” Dolas explained. “With these drums that we’re able to use within our music therapy sessions, our students can be anywhere in the room if they feel like they want to be in the vicinity of the drum.”
Students can even go underneath the drum table with Comfort Sound Technology, which enables them to be surrounded by comfortable sensory input and gentle vibrations.
“(It’s) almost like a womb type of feeling, where it becomes this sound container and gives them almost a sensory massage that feels really great,” Dolas said.
Another benefit of the drum table is that it creates the opportunity for students to become more comfortable with social interaction.
“It invites togetherness, and because it invites togetherness it promotes social interaction,” she said. “When you’re sitting across from somebody at a table you’re able to look at them, so that promotes eye contact. It’s just the nature of the design of the drum itself.”
For students that choose to play the drum themselves, Arts & Services for Disabled utilizes Comfort Sound Technology mallets that serve a special purpose: when the individual strikes the drum, the vibrations are actually carried through the stick to the hands. This unique function, which Dolas described as being similar to a conduit, is designed to encourage the person to continue to play and experience the benefits of the rhythm they’re creating.
One benefit rhythm can have, Dolas added, is improved speech and language skills in those with autism and seniors who have difficulty communicating.
“Because the sound sensitivities are there and because the drum offers a more comfortable sound, it keeps them engaged in that rhythm longer,” she explained, “so that their brain is entrained with that rhythm, and they’re using different neural pathways to be able to communicate with each other.”Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or drop us a line at email@example.com.
Santa Clarita hometown manufacturer Remo Inc. has partnered with leading neurologists and drum education experts to develop evidence-based wellness programs that use rhythm as a tool to support better living. Music therapists often use these tools for their music therapy work. Sometimes people refer to this as drum therapy. One such program, called HealthRHYTHMS, utilizes drumming as a tool for communication and personal expression by guiding participants through a 10-step process. Other Remo wellness programs consider the needs of people with autism who drum, and people with Alzheimer’s and PTSD who also use the drum to improve the quality of their lives. Remo, Inc. is one of the leading drum manufacturers, making drums with recycled material.