Binaural beats. You might not hear them while dancin’ at the club, but putting on headphones and tuning in to these frequencies may bring their own set of benefits. Improved stress, anxiety, sleep, creativity, and concentration are just some of the claimed positive impacts.
I’ve been personally experimenting with binaural beats for the past 6 months, and have some thoughts and takeaways (described later down below). In fact, I’m listening to them right now in hopes that they help me write this article…
What are Binaural Beats?
While wearing headphones, two different frequency patterns are played in each ear. The difference in frequency patterns processes a binaural beat in our brain.
For example: Let’s say you have headphones on. In the right earbud, a frequency of 150 Hz is playing. In the left earbud, a frequency of 140Hz is playing. But instead of hearing the two different frequencies at once, your brain processes the tone of 10Hz.
This difference (10 Hz), is the binaural beat. Different frequency patterns are produced to elicit a specific effect:
- Delta (1-4 Hz): Deep sleep, relaxation
- Theta (4-8 Hz): REM sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, meditation, relaxation, creativity
- Alpha (8-13 Hz): increase positivity and relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress
- Beta (14-32 Hz): improved memory and problem solving skills, increased concentration, wakefulness, alertness
Binaural beats impact us by changing our brainwaves, which is why they can be a form of sound wave therapy. However, you likely won’t be recommended this treatment by your doctor. Binaural beats should not be relied upon to heal mental health disorders. But, for those looking for a quick biohack, there is research that provides some evidence for brain benefits. Binaural beat brain benefits. Try saying that 5 times fast…
Benefits of Binaural Beats
Reduced Anxiety and Stress
- This study showed improvements in self-reported anxiety and quality of life in participants.
- Another study found positive effects of binaural beats on cognition, pain perception, and anxiety.
Enhanced psychomotor performance (physical coordination)
- Study finding improvements in psychomotor performance.
- Study finding improvements in mood.
- This study found improvements on long term memory.
- This study found evidence that binaural beats provided a meditative effect on the brain.
Other claimed benefits include:
My Personal Experience
I became intrigued by binaural beats when I learned from a professional writer how listening to them had drastically improved her productivity. Since I usually jump on any bandwagon referred to as a “productivity hack,” I immediately downloaded the recommended apps.
Over the past 6 months, I’ve listened to different binaural beats serving various desired outcomes: sleep, meditation, concentration, and confidence.
Wanting to utilize the promising productivity hack, I tried listening to them when writing. After what I learned about binaural beats, it seemed like as soon as my headphones hit my ears and the frequencies played, I would zone into my laptop like it was the only thing that existed. I imagined complete tunnel vision and my fingers gliding across the keyboard with ease. You know, like every movie where the main character suddenly gets their inspiration for a project and the viewers see a montage of non-stop work until the perfect project is completed? Still waiting for this to become my reality (I mean, is that too much to ask?). But in my personal experience, yes, I was productive and focused when listening to binaural beats. But nothing movie-like. I do know for sure that they helped me tune out my noisy upstairs neighbor…
A noticeable difference was when I used the delta frequencies to fall asleep on a red-eye flight. Tuning into the sleep setting and drifting off felt a bit easier than usual. I actually slept through the whole 6 hour flight, ya’ll!
The most helpful method I’ve found for using binaural beats is meditation. On the app I use (linked below) I select the meditation setting and set the timer feature for 1 minute (I gotta start somewhere right?). During this time I focus on my breathing. Theoretically, this theta frequency brings me into a deeper meditative state more quickly. I can’t say 100% if this is for sure, but I know I look forward to meditating with the support of my beats app.
So overall, have binaural beats worked for me? I think so. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to tell. For the effects I have noticed, I wonder if it’s placebo or a real cause and effect. Regardless, I have found utility for them in my everyday life, so I know I’ll keep using them.
Where to Find Binaural Beats
The app I use is called Brain Wave 35 Binaural Programs which is currently $4.99 on the app store. With pretty good reviews actually. I also like this program because the beats are automatically downloaded with the app so you don’t need wifi to listen to them (that’s a big win for plane rides!).
Not sure about it? You can listen to them for free on YouTube. There are many videos dedicated to binaural beats.
One popular video on Sleep Meditation.
Would you ever try binaural beats? Why or why not?
Also by Lindsay: Is Your Acne Caused By A Sluggish Lymphatic System? How To Heal
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