Speech Pathology Associates

TLP Technical Requirements

Equipment guidelines have been established to optimize your potential results with The Listening Programs. Because of the importance of preserving the harmonic content and the wide frequency ranges contained in The Listening Programs, good quality equipment is recommended.

The Compact Disc Player

Due to the vast number of models of CD players available and the rapid change in the market, it is difficult to recommend a specific player. Portable, personal CD players, such as the Sony Discman, provide the most flexibility for the listener. If you are using this type of player, a model that has rechargeable batteries and an anti-skip mechanism is preferable. (Note: The headphones that come with these players will not be adequate for use with TLP).

If you prefer, you may use your component home stereo system or a mini-component (bookshelf) system. With these systems, be sure that the equalizer is turned off, or that the equalizer settings are flat, and that loudness or mega-bass settings are turned off. The channel balance should be equal between right and left. Boom-box-type players are not ideal for use with TLP. In general, these systems are intended to maximize low frequencies and to be played at high volumes and don't typically produce as good a quality of sound at the higher frequencies as do other types of players.


Good quality headphones are an essential element of your TLP equipment. The important aspect to consider when choosing headphones is the frequency response. At the high end of the response range, headphones should have a frequency response of at least 23,000 Hz. Although CD players are generally tested for output up to 20,000 Hz., a higher range is needed for the headphones; this allows for transmission of the higher frequencies at a relatively low volume. Two other specifications important to TLP are Driver Size, which should be 40-50mm and Power Handling Capacity, which should be 1000mW (for closed style, minimum) and 500mW (for open style, minimum).

Wireless headphones are NOT to be used with TLP. The technologies used to transmit sounds through the air will negatively affect the quality of sound needed for TLP. Wireless headphones will also impact the preset channel balance for laterality on the CDs. More specific recommendations follow at the end of this page.

Parental Supervision

To ensure maximum effectiveness of TLP, it is important that your equipment is functioning properly. If you are using TLP with a child, put the headphones on and listen for a few moments to be sure that the headphones, CD player, and CD are all working properly, and that the volume is not turned too loud. Make sure you do this at the beginning of EVERY session.

Equipment Troubleshooting

If you notice that sound is coming out of only one side of the headphones for an extended period of time, sound cuts in and out (other than the sound of the audio bursting in the "B-Tracks"), or the CD is skipping, check the following:

  • Compact Discs: TLP CDs should be handled very carefully. Dirt, scratches, or fingerprints on the CD will affect how it plays. Try using a commercially available cleaning kit to keep CDs clean. Try a different CD in your player to determine whether the problem is with your TLP CD or with your other equipment. If one of your TLP CDs becomes scratched or damaged, contact your program supervisor to order a replacement.
  • Headphones: If you hear sound in only one side of the headphones, or if the output is intermittent, the headphones may need to be repaired. first confirm that the headphones are plugged into the player properly. Try listening through a different pair of headphones(such as those that came with your CD player) to determine whether the source of the problem is the headphones or the player. Headphones typically come with a warranty. Contact the manufacturer or retailer for recommendations for repairs.
  • Compact Disc Players: If you have ruled out the CD or headphones as the culprits, your CD player may be the problem. Contact the manufacturer or retailer for repairs.

Volume Settings

Volume, at all times, should be soft and gentle. The effectiveness of TLP is not based on loudness. More volume does not equal more effect. If anything, active listening -- the purpose of TLP -- is better served at low volume levels. This also protects the delicate mechanisms of the auditory system.

Start each session with a sound check and periodically check your child's volume level. In most cases, it should be below 2 or 3 (on a scale of 1-10).

Spend approximately one minute listening and establishing a comfortable, low level volume. This volume should be maintained throughout the entire 15-minute segment. Volume in TLP has a large dynamic range. This is intentional, it is one of the psychoacoustic processes that invites active listening.

Shifts in volume will be most noticeable in the nature sections and in the B-Tracks of each segment. These B-Track sections are the middle five minutes of each 15-minute segment and are the most heavily processed. They have been specifically lowered in volume from the adjoining tracks. The filtered and gated sounds in the B-Tracks need not be at the volume level of the rest of the program. Because of their strength, we lower the volume to keep the listening experience pleasant. Do not raise the volume in these sections. We want to re-emphasize that when it comes to volume, less is more.

Warning: Excessive exposure to any loud sound could cause permanent hearing damage. Please keep volumes low while listening to anything through headphones.

As previously stated, there are many brands of equipment which meet the technical requirements of The Listening Programs. However, the audio equipment listed on this site has been specifically tested and approved.

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