On Benefits of Binaural Beats

You may be familiar with the term “binaural beats”, especially if you’re into mind machines or brainwave entertainment. The word “binaural” is defined as “of two ears”. The technology behind this involves the brain being stimulated using different sounds in each ear using earphone with the goal of creating sensory or even spiritual feelings.

When the brain hears the alternating beats and tones in each ear, the brain syncs up with the tone’s patterns and produces various positive psychological experiences such as a sense of calm, happiness or possibly an enhanced intelligence and mental focus.
There is a lot of research going on trying to create different binaural beats but the execution is always the same: you put on the earphones, quietly lie back and listen. Psychologists and neuroscientists are divided on benefits of binaural beats, they are mostly concerned that regular use may develop into addiction and call binaural beats a “digital drugs“.

The technology of binaural beats is not new at all. The discovery of binaural beats goes back to the 1839. This is when Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, a scientist from Prussia discovered the concept and started experimenting and using binaural beat technology. But it’s just been in recent decades when high-quality headphones became generally available that practical use has taken off. Using good quality headphones enabled the technology to be kicked up a notch because each pattern of sound can be isolated to just one ear, and there are no background distractions. This isolation of sounds, beats and tones has contributed greatly to the science of binaural beats.

An article in Scientific American, 1973 called “Auditory Beats in the Brain” by Gerald Oster was about the results of a pioneer study on binaural beats and introduced the topic to the public at large. This article is still mentioned today due to its organized and detailed explanation of the topic.

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Understanding Brainwave Entrainment

The focus on improving our lives include contributions from every imaginable science. While we seem to understand the way most of these sciences work there remains areas where it is easy to get confused. One of those more mysterious sciences is neuroscience, or the study of the nervous system.

Being computer technology based, neuroscience is a more recent entry into the scientific world. A primary focus of work in this field is the mapping of the interconnection of the neural network, including the brain and the lines of communication with the rest of the body. It’s as though the world within our body is a giant system of highways and freeways designed to transport information about ourselves via electrical impulses.

I would like to introduce you to a type of aural based mood control. This is that through the use of certain electrical frequencies emitted in our brain, our mood can be altered. By most accounts the most often talked about and least understood area of mood control is brainwave entrainment.  Also known as brainwave synchronization, it is the deliberate action of guiding your brainwaves to a particular frequency that corresponds to a desired brain state, e.g. highly focused, or deeply relaxed.

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How Mind Machines Work

Our minds use certain electrical brainwave frequencies to determine how awake or asleep we feel. Generally those frequencies are:

beta – wide awake brain waves of 14 + cycles per second
alpha – peaceful brain waves of 8 to 14 cycles per second
theta – dreamy brainwaves of 4 to 8 cycles per second
delta – sleep brainwaves of 0 to 4 cycles per second

You can artificially recreate those wave patterns (as well as many others) in your brain using mind machines. Mind Machines can produce various light and sound patterns and these will transform into brainwaves within your mind. Have you noticed that some sorts of music will thrill you and others put you to sleep, some make you joyful and others anger you? It is all our brain reaction to different wave patterns.

The world around us is filled with waves of various frequency, including the sound waves. Human ear is capable of hearing frequencies within 20Hz-20KHz range. 1Hz (Hertz) is by definition one vibration per second, therefore 20Hz is 20 vibrations per second and 20KHz is 20000 vibrations per second.

Let’s take for example a 100 Hz wave and suppose that there was is wave form in the near vicinity and lets say it is vibrating at slightly higher frequency. If it were vibrating at 103 Hz the combination of these two waves, after they came in contact with each other, would produce an interference pattern that looks like the following wave form (also known as a monaural beat):

combined waves

Human mind is fully capable of entraining to that wave form, and for this particular wave pattern, you would find yourself fighting sleep!

Mind machines work very similar to what happens in nature…Let’s assume you are using a mind machine and listening to these two sound waves: top one in your left headphone and bottom one in your right headphone:

separate waves

Those two wave forms would combine inside your mind to create the following interference wave form (binaural beat) which your mind would entrain to and it will put you in a near sleep state.

This binaural beat is similar to the monaural beat shown in the first image and, similarly, it will drive your mind to a peaceful state of calm alertness. You would find yourself going into a light trance state. The wave forms in the embedded video below will entrain you to a deep trance state – put your headphones on and try it: