Where do technology and sound meet and can actually influence our brainwaves? Binaural beats offer a realm of potential and have an ability to influence or more exactly entrain our mental states through electrical brainwave activity.
Science Behind Binaural Beats
The effect of binaural beats lies in their ability to tap into frequencies that are perceived, not heard, by the human ear. By playing two slightly different frequencies in each ear, the brain generates a third tone, unlocking aural illusions that influence brainwave activity to that frequency. For optimal effectiveness to produce these beats they require frequencies under 1000 Hz. By listening to specific binaural beats they can entrain your brain to a specific brainwave state.
The interplay of neurons within our brains forms the basis of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These brainwaves show that these neurons seem to converse with one another. They can be detected through sensors placed upon the scalp, ( EEG ) the measured oscillations are then categorized into bandwidths/brainwaves. Each brainwave range represents a different state offering a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of human consciousness. To give an example beta waves stand for alertness and are necessary for the normal busyness of life while delta waves often represent deep sleep. A bit below you can find a list with the different brainwaves and the binaural beats to possibly experiment with:
Unraveling the Historical Thread
The history of binaural beats traces back to the 19th century, gaining comprehensive recognition through Oster’s meticulous study in 1973. This auditory investigator capitalized on the brain’s response to subtly varying frequencies, producing vibrations now known as binaural beats. The difference between the two sounds must have a frequency difference of less than 30 Hz to allow our brain to perceive the third frequency consciously. Above 30hz it becomes a normal listening experience because beyond frequency differences of 30 Hz, the two tones are perceived separately. This threshold seems to vary depending on the stimulation technique that is used.
The Main Brainwaves
Delta: 1-4 Hz.
Delta is the lowest frequency state, and it’s linked to:
- Deep sleep
- Cortisol reduction/DHEA increase
Theta: 4-8 Hz. Theta binaural beats are linked to:
- Deep relaxation
Alpha: 8-14 Hz. Alpha brain waves are linked to:
- Relax and focus
- Reduce Stress
- Increase learning capabilities
Beta: 14-30 Hz. Beta brainwaves are linked to:
- Keeping your attention focused
- Analytical thinking and solving problems
- Stimulating energy and action
Gamma: 30-100 Hz. Is linked to:
- Increased cognitive enhancement
- Attention to detail, helping in memory recall <interesting research with Alzheimer>
- A different way of thinking
Best for gamma up to 40HZ based on different research. And above 40 HZ the binaural beta is technically not a beat anymore.
Our brainwave profile weaves with our daily experiences, shaping our emotional and neuro-physical health. Brainwave patterns can give us insight in a multitude of conditions, from anxiety disorders and sleep problems to depression and ADHD. Brainwaves offer insight into these facets of our mental and emotional health. To give a very simplified example if you have a lot of beta waves while you supposed to sleeping it will be difficult to sleep. This offers the door to improved well-being by experimenting with brainwave entrainment using binaural beats.
Using binaural beats
There is more and more research on using binaural beats (some is enlisted below this article). There are no documented side effects of using binaural beats but we do advice to use your common sense. Ensuring that your headphone sound levels remain safe is for instance crucial to avoid long-term hearing loss. (Yes you do need headphones to perceive the binaural beats). Consultation before using them with a medical professional is advisable for those with epilepsy, as research in this area is ongoing. Some studies hint at increased sensations of sadness or short bursts of anxiety during binaural beat listening, although the full extent of their therapeutic impact is still being researched.
Although binaural beats have been linked to enhanced emotions, and entraining brainwave states the response is subjective, making it essential to explore and find beats that resonate with one’s individual needs. So the real advice is experiment with the time, volume, the kind of beats and the individual frequency. To assist you in this as Flower of Sound, there is an album available with all of the individual pure frequencies per brainwave and an album that puts the whole frequency range within a specific brainwave in one track. Binaural Beats Full Spectrum Range can be categorised as a non-ordinary listening experience to experiment further with the power of sound.
Brainwaves and Immersive Soundscapes
This field of brainwave entrainment, also offers a new possibility where brainwaves merge harmoniously with immersive nature soundscapes. As listening to nature sounds comes with its own set of benefits. <read this blog> Nature Brainwaves merges these nature soundscapes by using microphones capable to record full 360 soundscapes in combination with binaural beats.
The idea behind this union is an immersive auditory listening experience that guides listeners to desired states of consciousness. As we listen to the binaural beats, the ambient immersive soundscape envelops us, mimicking the way living beings perceive acoustic spaces. This fusion offers a natural and less stressful alternative to traditional stereo signals so it can be used for medium to long listening sessions. Unlike some platforms that reduce the volume of these frequencies to minimize “annoyance,” Nature Brainwaves embraces their presence, allowing the binaural signal to be consciously and physically perceived.
Nature brainwaves and Binaural Beats Full Spectrum Range use 200 hz as a more pleasant and low but still hearable tone than higher frequencies that are less comfortable to listen.
Binaural beats to entrain the brain? A systematic review of the effects of binaural beat stimulation on brain oscillatory activity, and the implications for psychological research and intervention
Scientific America (Auditory beats in the brain)
University of Birmingham
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Modulatory Effect of Association of Brain Stimulation by Light and Binaural Beats in Specific Brain Waves
National library of Medicine
About the use of 40 hz