What are Binaural beats, and do they really benefit us?
Our brains are one of the most complex organs in our body, but have you ever paid attention to what intrigues it? We often go about our day not thinking about the scientific and psychological processes our brains go through every day. Whether you are taking a walk outside, listening to music, eavesdropping on a conversation, or even just reading a book.
Our brains stay active throughout our entire day, consuming, and digesting every sound our ears pick up. What this article will be focusing on is what happens when we present our brains with certain sounds that change their behavior. In this case, binaural beats said to help improve sleep, reduce anxiety, stress, and help meditation practices.
Binaural beats are made up of two tones, one for each ear. They are played in two slightly different frequencies that your brain synchronizes to sound the same. These beats are known around the world to be a type of illusion in auditory form. Tricking our brain into thinking that the two different tones are actually being played at the same frequency. Although, in order for them to be classified as binaural, they need to be less than 1000 Hz. As for the difference in the two tones being played, they cannot be more than 30 Hz.
These beats can be used for many things, but in recent years have become a form of therapy. Otherwise known as a form of self-help, these beats are said to be an experimental form of treatment for anxiety, stress, and disorders relating to those. However, please do not rely fully on this audio therapy, and seek professional medical help if needed. Depending on how you use the beats, it is said that over time they can actually increase one’s sleep cycle, almost massaging their brain before bed to allow room for a deeper sleep.
Each frequency has been divided into categories of patterns:
Delta pattern which is played at 0.5-4 Hz. This specific pattern is said to be linked to sleep.
- The alpha pattern which is played between 7-13 Hz, these frequencies are said to help with relaxation.
- The third is the Theta pattern, played at 4-7 Hz and is supposed to improve meditation, REM sleep, and creativity.
- The Gamma pattern plays at a range of 30-50 Hz and promotes arousal when awake.
The Beta pattern, the frequencies are played at around 13-30 Hz, and help with concentration/alertness.
If you are interested in exploring binaural beats for a certain reason, these would be the patterns to further research to find what suits best your needs.
So is the science behind the beats true?
Well, many studies have been done surrounding this phenomenon. Starting as early as 2001, doctors and medical professionals have been fascinated with the different ways music can affect our bodies and emotional responses. As I briefly mentioned earlier, this is not a professional form of therapy.
After an official study done in 2017, it showed that there is no real brain activity when listening to the beats but rather bodily reactions such as our skin and heart rate. If practiced and used over time, the potential benefits are a reduction in stress, anxiety, increased confidence, focus, deeper meditation, and more. Every single person will react differently to the beats. Some may have positive effects, some may not have any at all. If this is something that intrigues you, definitely try it out and see what works for you!
The best way to access the best results is to have a pair of studio headphones or earphones of some sort. A mobile phone or computer where you can access any streaming service/YouTube. It is important to be as in tune with the beats as possible, so make sure that you are in an environment that allows you full concentration on the music.
Avoid tasks like driving, taking tests…etc. As you experiment with these sounds, understand that many binaural producers create sounds based on different Hz patterns. Be sure to look into what you are hoping to achieve with these beats, and if you aren’t seeing an improvement in anything, maybe try a different producer or Hz! This truly is just experimental, so have fun with it and enjoy listening to some binaural beats!
Madison Everett is a senior at Montclair State University pursuing her bachelors in Communications and Media Arts. After school, she will be working in the music industry, specifically in music business. She works as Chief Officer of Operations for her media business Nite X which she runs alongside the founder, Andreina Nicasio since 2017. At Montclair State she is involved in the radio station 90.3 WMSC as Music Director, DJ, and Host of two shows as of Spring 2019. Here at Traklife she works as one of our Music Curators and showcases her favorite songs through curated playlists every week. Be sure to keep up to date with her and her sounds through Traklife Media Group and her Instagram @mmadisoneverett!