Binaural beats occur because the brain creates an optical illusion when listening to two tones with slightly different frequencies simultaneously.
Brainwave Entrainment (BWE) with audio called binaural beats or binaural tones are auditory processing artefacts. Perception of this sound (beat) arises in the brain due to specific physical stimuli.
Help in changing brain states
Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered the effect in 1839. It became more prominent in the late 20th century. Binaural beats can help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other sought after mental states.
Much scientific, clinical, and PhD research and usage ‘proves’ that BWE works. However, there are significant benefits to using binaural beats and other brain wave entrainment.
For example, research has shown that binaural beats can help increase relaxation, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and even help produce various hormones. In addition, the use of Binaural beats has also shown to be successful in increasing focus and creativity and assisting in the elimination of unwanted behaviours.
I love to put on frequency music or binaural beats to keep myself centered. It helps me with mental clarity, and it gives me a moment to breathe and be present.Syesha Mercado
Binaural Beats – benefits
For years, scientists have known the benefits of brainwave entrainment, specifically Binaural beats.
Some benefits of BWE are:
- increased concentration
- increased creativity
- deeper relaxation
- memory improvement
- deeper self-awareness
- help with visualisation
- more clarity, focus and attention
- improve sleep, deal with insomnia
- breaking bad habits
- pain relief
- weight loss
- increased learning capacity
- And much more
How do Binaural Beats work?
The brain produces Binaural beats when two distinct tones of different frequencies are presented to each ear. However, the effect is rather strange when we hear these two tones.
Instead of hearing two individual sounds, the brain joins the two tones into a pulsating beat or a beating pulse. So what you hear is an “auditory hallucination”, and they naturally affect our brain.
When our brainwaves synchronise with an external pulse or frequency, it is called a “Frequency Following Response” (FFR); The ‘beat rate’, or frequency, is determined by the difference in the two individual frequencies.
The Alpha state – Perfect for relaxation
Suppose a tone of 325Hz is presented to the right ear while a tone of 315Hz is given to the left ear.
In that case, your brain will convert these two tones into a single beating tone of 10Hz, which is the difference between the two tones. Therefore, your brainwaves will begin to synchronise with the 10Hz tone (Alpha brainwave).
Alpha brainwaves are perfect for relaxation, meditation, learning and introspection; Brainwave entrainment is the process that causes these changes.
Below is a 10Hz Binaural Beat – Alpha Range (use headphones when listening).
Relaxation and peaceful states result from brainwave frequencies of 10Hz and lower. For example, a calm, relaxed state occurs during daydreaming, fantasising and creative visualisation.
Listening to binaural beats or white noise creates a calmness and relaxed state that helps me focus in a deeper way.Mark Csabai
Other Methods of Brainwave Entrainment
Brainwave entrainment and binaural frequencies are interchangeable. The binaural beat creates the frequency following-response phenomenon.
There are many other types of brainwave entrainment; some are listed here:
- Binaural Beats
- Monaural Beats
- Isochronic Tones
- White Noise*
- Pink / Brown Noise*
*read more about white, pink and brown noise http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise.
Other methods can result in frequency following response, such as flashing lights; the flashing rate determines the frequency (Hz).
Before undertaking brainwave entrainment therapy, speaking with a healthcare professional is advised. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of binaural frequency therapy.
Scientific and clinical studies utilised small numbers of patients and subjective measures, such as questionnaires. Few recent, high-quality studies support binaural beat therapy as an effective treatment for anxiety.
Despite this, this method can be used at home without any special training and is not required. Therefore, binaural beats can be used in conjunction with ongoing anxiety treatments for individuals who find it reduces their anxiety.
There is a lack of research on the long-term side effects of the therapy. Therefore, it may be beneficial for people to begin with short binaural beat therapy sessions.
Once you become used to listening to the sounds and the effects they cause, you can gradually increase your exposure.