Binaural beats are a form of auditory brain stimulation (originating in the superior olivary nucleus of each brain hemisphere).
They result from the interaction of two different but similar sounds (known as binaural beats), originating in opposite ears, which the brain perceives as one new tone.
These sounds have a vibrational frequency below 1000 Hz and with a frequency difference of between one and 30 Hz. Therefore, these sounds are not heard in the ordinary sense of the word (the human range of hearing is from 20-20,000 Hz) but rather perceived as an auditory beat.
This auditory beat can be used to entrain specific brain rhythms, due to our frequency-following response (the tendency of the brain to entrain to or resonate at the frequency of an external stimulus).
Binaural beats therapy (BBT) uses a specific binaural-beat frequency to entrain a certain brain rhythm, thereby provoking a desired brain state.
Types of brain waves and associated states
Beats played at frequencies that are characteristic of brain wave frequencies can facilitate alterations in our predominant brain-wave state.
The subjective effect of listening to binaural beats may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the binaural beat stimulation. Binaural beats in:
- Delta (1-4 Hz) and theta (4-8 Hz) ranges are associated with deep trance, relaxed, meditative, and creative states, and can be used as an aid to falling asleep
- Alpha ranges (8-12 Hz) are associated with relaxed awareness or daydreaming
- Beta frequencies (12-24 Hz) are associated with increased concentration or alertness and improved memory
Currently, binaural beats therapy has become more prevalent, as binaural beats programs can be easily and inexpensively available on electronic devices.
Binaural beats can be helpful when dealing with:
- Sleep issues
- Cognitive issues
- Attention issues