You may have heard of binaural beats and wondered what they are. In essence, binaural beats are sound frequencies that can be used as a way to produce the types of brainwaves needed to complete different tasks. Used in meditation and other healing modalities, binaural beats are much more than pretty music. They can be a powerful mechanism to improve your brain function.
What Are Binaural Beats?
Scientists have long known that music can have a positive effect on brain function, but binaural beats are a relatively new phenomenon. The term ‘binaural beats’ actually describes the sensations that your brain perceives when you listen through headphones to two different tones that are very close in pitch, simultaneously. The beat is heard as if the two sounds combine.
This is important for the brain, as processing binaural beats is one of the few activities where both hemispheres of the brain work synchronically to produce a particular result. The brain can only hear one tone at a time, so both hemispheres work to produce one tone out of the two that are coming in through each ear.
What Effect do Binaural Beats have on the Brain?
Research has shown that listening to binaural beats has a similar effect to meditation. Binaural beats can have a powerful effect on your brain, helping you quickly achieve states of deep relaxation, increased concentration, improved sleep, and enhanced memory. And they do this by merely altering the frequencies of your brainwaves.
Different sound frequencies encourage different brainwaves. By listening to binaural beats, we alter our brainwaves to produce the cognitive functions we need at the time:
Gamma waves—Stimulate the brain during higher processing tasks and cognitive functioning to improve learning, memory, and information processing (40 Hz to 100 Hz frequency).
Beta waves—Inspire conscious focus, improved memory, problem-solving, critical thinking, writing, reading, and socialization (12 Hz to 40 Hz frequency).
Alpha waves—Bridge the gap between conscious thinking and the subconscious mind. They promote calmness, deep relaxation, positivity, and decrease anxiety (8 Hz to 12 Hz frequency).
Theta waves—Enhance creativity, emotional connection, intuition, relaxation, and restorative REM sleep (4 Hz to 8 Hz frequency).
Delta waves—Motivate improved Immune system, natural healing, deep, restorative sleep (0 Hz to 4 Hz frequency).
What’s the Best Way to Try Binaural Beats?
To start exploring the potential of binaural beats, you will need a set of stereo headphones and a device that plays music, like your smartphone. You usually only need to listen for 15-30 minutes to achieve the brainwave state you desire. Don’t combine binaural beats therapy with other activities, especially not while driving or operating machinery. You can find a wide variety of free and low-cost binaural beats soundtracks online to use them while studying, creating, or preparing for sleep.