How do you relax? Do you follow a guided meditation, or maybe you listen to a podcast or serene music. Another possible relaxing strategy is listening to binaural beats therapy.
Binaural beats aren’t a music genre. Instead, they are an auditory phenomenon your brain creates in response to hearing specific tones in each ear.
Some research on the experimental treatment shows that listening to binaural beats can benefit mental health. For example, it can reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep. In addition, some people like to listen to binaural beats as a relaxing addition to their sleep routine.
Have you ever wondered what those relaxing sounds put you in a trance? Today we explain how binaural beats work.
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Binaural beats – definition
According to Wikipedia, “a binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sinusoidal sound waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference, are presented to a listener into each ear.”
It means that our brain perceives those sound waves in a way that creates the third sound even though two different frequency sounds are playing. As a result, your brain creates an additional sound you hear, a binaural beat.
Here’s an example:
In your left ear, you hear a sound at a frequency of 132 Hz, and in your right ear, you hear a sound of 121 Hz.
Your brain tries to synchronize the difference, which is 11 Hz. As a result, instead of hearing two different tones, you hear a third tone at 11 Hz.
How do binaural beats work?
For a binaural beat to work, the tones need to have frequencies less than 1000 Hz, and the difference between them isn’t more than 30 Hz. The sounds also must be listened to separately, one through each ear.
But how does it happen?
It’s too complicated for our brain to hear two different sounds coming to two different ears. It has to somehow manage to comprehend it. When each ear hears a different frequency tone, your brain perceives a third sound.
The third tone is created in the same part of the brain that helps you locate a sound. If you want to hear the binaural beat, you must have sound coming from each ear. You’ll no longer hear the binaural beat if you take out one of your earbuds.
The relaxing properties of binaural beats are caused by altering your brain wave activity and arousal levels. When binaural beats are sustained over time, they synchronize with your brain waves.
What is binaural beats therapy?
Binaural beat therapy is auditory beat stimulation, a form of sound wave therapy. Enthusiasts of the therapy recommend it to treat anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders. In addition, self-help audio recordings that a person listens to on stereo headphones are usually offered in the form of binaural beats therapy.
However, there’s not enough research about the clinical benefits of binaural beat therapy, and doctors do not recommend it widely. In conclusion, you shouldn’t replace traditional treatments for stress and anxiety with binaural beats therapy.
Binaural beat therapy is not a standard treatment for any illness. This therapy is considered to be semi-experimental by medical experts.
What are binaural beats for?
There are different frequencies for binaural beats. Each frequency can affect brain activity in different ways and give different results.
Below we present different types of brain waves and what they can do for you:
Gamma waves (30 Hz – 50 Hz): Gamma waves have the highest frequency of brain activity. This brain activity is linked to alertness, concentration, and problem-solving. Gamma waves can support memory and cognition and elevate mood.
Beta waves (13 Hz – 30 Hz): These waves in the brain are linked to improved mood and task performance and lowered anxiety. Listening to binaural beats at this frequency improves memory and accuracy.
Alpha waves (8 Hz – 13 Hz): alpha waves are associated with relaxation and peace. Research shows that the alpha range stimulation with binaural beats can increase creativity.
Theta waves (4 Hz – 8 Hz): In the lightest stage of sleep, your brain produces theta waves at a frequency between. Theta waves are also connected to sleep and meditation. h For example, studies show that listening to binaural beats at a 6 Hz frequency can induce a meditative state.
Delta waves (0.5 Hz and 4 Hz): are the slowest brain waves. When you go deeper into the sleep stages, your brain produces delta waves that induce dreaming. So you can listen to binaural beats at delta frequencies if you sleep better and deeper.
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Benefits of binaural beats
Binaural beats are used to induce the mental state associated with a meditation practice but quicker. As a result, binaural beats can help in:
- reducing anxiety
- increasing attention
- lowering stress levels
- inducing relaxation
- elevating mood
- promoting creativity
- reducing pain
- inducing sleep
Binaural beats and meditation
The practice of meditation is the effort to quiet the mind and decrease the number of random ideas that pass through it.
Meditation has been found to lower stress and anxiety, slow down the rate of brain aging and memory loss, promote mental health, and expand attention span. However, because meditation is such a difficult activity to practice, people have turned to technology for assistance.
Binaural beats between 1 and 30 hertz produce the same brain wave pattern that one would achieve during meditation. When you listen to a sound with a specific frequency, your brain waves will synchronize with it.
According to the idea, binaural beats may aid your brain in creating the same waves that are commonly seen during meditation practice. Therefore, binaural beats are used as brain wave entrainment technology.
How to use binaural beats?
Many binaural beat tracks are available online if you decide to use binaural beats. You may also acquire CDs with binaural beat audio files or download them from the internet.
Many meditation music CDs have white noise or other mild sounds to assist you in relaxing. Choose tracks with theta or delta frequencies, which aid sleep.
The length of binaural beat tracks varies. Therefore, you may need to experiment with multiple recordings to determine how long of a track you need to induce sleepiness.
Make sure you have sound coming into each ear when listening to binaural beats. You may use headphones or earbuds, whichever is more convenient. Because you can’t hear the binaural beats produced independently by the brain, if one ear is lost, you won’t be able to hear them.
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Can binaural beats have side effects?
The only known negative effects of binaural beat use are irritability and annoyance. Some people have reported becoming irritated or frustrated while listening to the beats. Experts recommend tracks with additional noises to avoid this discomfort, like white noise.
Moreover, long-term exposure to sounds at 85 decibels or higher can result in noise-induced hearing loss. So as you listen to binaural beats, make sure the volume is not too high.
Because Binaural Beat Technology might induce an epileptic seizure, you should consult with your doctor before using it. In addition, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to see whether listening to binaural beats for long amounts of time causes any negative side effects.
Binaural beats can help with sleep, anxiety, stress levels, mood elevation, and creativity by inducing the brain to produce different frequency waves. You can use binaural beats to improve your life. However, as with anything else, make sure you listen at a comfortable volume to avoid negative side effects.