What are binaural beats and how do they affect the brain? The psychologist answers
Alena Makarova September 20, 2023, 20:40 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
We explain how sound illusions promote creativity and cognitive function.
psychologist, television presenter, motivational speaker, entrepreneurship expert
“Many companies around the world daily solve the problem of how to give a person new emotions, surprise and relax. In the early 2000s, a non-standard way to influence the state began to gain popularity – listening to binaural beats. “Marketers quickly called it audio drugs to further fuel public interest.”
What are binaural beats and how do they work?
The binaural effect itself occurs because the brain interprets the sound signal with two ears. It allows you to determine the direction of the sound source, which makes the perception of sound three-dimensional. This function is also used when recording some musical compositions; When listening with headphones an immersive effect is created.
Binaural beats originate from this effect. These are acoustic signals created by presenting the brain with two different sound frequencies in each ear. This difference causes a binaural beat effect, which can be felt as a pulsation or vibration in the sound. To do this, you must listen to the audio track using headphones, each of which emits a different frequency.
In 1893, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove described this phenomenon as the brain’s processing of the difference in frequencies between the right and left ears. Research continued only in the second half of the 20th century, when American researcher Robert Monroe explained how the brain interprets frequency signals and creates the binaural effect. Later, in the 1970s, American biophysicist Gerald Oster noted the potential of rhythms for cognitive and neurological research.
How binaural beats affect the body
Binaural beats can affect the brain, causing different effects depending on the frequency and rhythm. For example, they can promote relaxation, greater concentration or even a change in the state of consciousness. The effect differs according to the different frequencies and resonance with the brain waves characteristic of different states.
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When we are awake, our brain emits gamma waves in the range of 30 to 60 Hz. This frequency difference when listening to binaural beats is likely to promote creativity and cognitive function.
Betta waves correspond to the range of 12 to 30 Hz. These binaural beats are believed to help maintain alertness. Calm or relaxed wakefulness is accompanied by alpha waves in the range of 8 to 12 Hz. Theta waves with a frequency of 4 to 8 Hz characterize a meditative state or light sleep. –4 Hz coincides with delta waves during deep sleep.
Binaural beats are believed to help tune the frequency of brain waves to the difference in frequencies of sound waves from headphones. Thus, the State moves in the desired direction.
Is there any damage?
The benefits and harms of binaural beats depend on the context and individual characteristics. They can help manage stress, improve sleep quality, meditation, and even learning. However, they should not be abused, as this can cause disorientation or unwanted psychological effects.
Furthermore, listening to these tracks cannot replace psychotherapy in general or psychological techniques in particular. It is important to experience different states naturally and resolve internal problems and not drown them with this type of audio doping.
After all, each condition, especially when it comes to anxiety, apathy or decreased concentration, has its own reasons. It is important to address the source and not try to find a way to artificially suppress the symptom.
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Sound recordings of binaural beats are available on the Internet. Many apps and audio tracks offer different rhythms for different purposes, from relaxation to concentration.
Follow your reaction, choose what suits you best. And remember that each person is individual and reacts differently to these types of external stimuli.
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