Have you ever noticed your productivity and concentration change depending on music you’re listening to? Different styles of music obviously have different effects on you and your mind. Classic music, for instance, is perfect for working, and rock music is better for gym.
In order to understand that first you need to take a look at the brainwave concept (model, theory). Your brain operates in different frequencies and stages. The frequency of your brain, just as its state, changes depending on your mood. To put it simple, your brain operates in a slow frequency when you work out and in a fast one when you think, learn, or study.
Different stages or states of your brain (alpha, beta, delta, theta, gamma) influence your activity performance and information processing. If you want to achieve a meditative state, sleep better, try activate your body’s natural regeneration processes or become more concentrated and productive, all you need to do is change the state of your brain.
That is exactly what binaural beats are used for. They are a special type of music, where different sounds are played in different frequencies in each ear. Listening to binaural beats is free, safe and catching on.
In this article, we will explain what binaural beats are and how they work and what kind of benefits they give you. We will also tell you whether binaural beats are dangerous or not.
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a German physicist, Henrich Wilhelm Dav. His work was fundamental for Gerald Oster, who in 134 years later, in 1973, acknowledged binaural beats an effective instrument of cognitive neurobiology.
According to Gerald Oster this is the definition of binaural beats:
“Slow modulations called binaural beats are apperceived when toned of different frequencies are presented to each ear separately. That sensation can show how certain sounds are processed by the brain.”
To put it simple, binaural beats are an (acoustic) illusion, apperceived by the brain when two tones are played in different frequencies in both ears. You can use this illusion to consciously change the state of your brain.
How do binaural beats work?
Do binaural beats actually work? The answer is yes. And this is why:
Many people believe that the left side of the brain is responsible for language skills and the right part for language skills. Some even think that they have a dominant side. That is wrong because every mind develops individually.
Encouraging both sides of your brain to exchange information is very healthy for your intellect. Simply speaking, if your left side “talks” to your right side, it improves your mental abilities in long term and increases the complexity of your thinking process.
One of the reasons that binaural beats are so popular is that they stimulate your brain. When you hear a sound of 260 Hz in the left ear and 250 in the right one, you make your mind use both sides of your brain for appropriate sound processing.
The difference between these sounds, which is 10 Hz, is created by your brain. That’s why you are supposed to listen to binaural beats only with headphones.
When your mind generates binaural beats, your brainwaves sync up with that certain frequency. In other words, when you hear 210 Hz in one ear and 200 in the other, your brain starts resonating in the frequency of 10 Hz. The result: your brainwaves have a frequency of 10 Hz.
Compare the difference of binaural beats frequencies depending on how you want to feel. The sounds with higher frequency difference make you feel active and aware; the sounds with minor frequency difference calm you and help falling asleep.
Binaural beats and brainwaves: benefits
Binaural beats can have different effects on your brain. We have summed up 5 states of your mind in order for you to understand which one is activated by different binaural frequency.
Brainwaves and binaural beats frequencies: benefits/effects
- Delta-waves (0,5-4 Hz): deep sleep; body’s natural regenerating mechanism
- Theta-waves (4-7,5 Hz): conscious dreaming, light sleep, deep meditation
- Alpha-waves (7,5-14 Hz): coordination, focusing, concentration, light meditation, deep relaxation, daydreaming
- Beta-waves (14-40 Hz): exciting, active, aware, logical and critical thinking
- Gamma-waves (more than 40 Hz): mental experience, universal love, broadening of consciousness
If you have some free time right now, sit down and put on headphones, close your eyes and listen to these sounds for about 10-20 minutes (they are free and easy to find on-line). Then you’ll notice that you’ll be able to read the rest of our article more concentrated.
If you want to find out more about brainwaves, we suggest you read our detailed article about brainwaves.
How to make binaural beats work
First, make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time to listen. The brain needs about 7 minutes to get fascinated and sync up with the acoustic impulse of binaural beats. So, spend no less than 15-30 minutes to feel all the benefits of binaural beats. You’ll also have to use stereo headphones.
Concentrate on the sound that you are hearing. That will help mind achieve relaxed state. Your patience is also a factor here.
Be patient. Training and developing your brain takes time. Imagine that you are the best sportsman and taking part in a competition without any preparation. Doesn’t sound much, does it?
The same goes for binaural beats. They ease your brain into a meditative state but don’t change it. That’s why if you’re looking for a fast solution for your own personal development, Binaural Beats is the wrong choice for you. They can only open the door and grant an easy access to your mind, but you have to do all the work by yourself.
Here are some more preliminary conditions for the most effective use of binaural beats:
Either of these two tones must have a frequency lower that 1000 Hz (a combination of 1250 and 1260 Hz won’t work).
The difference between the two tones mustn’t be more than 40 Hz. There are two reasons for that:
- the upper limit of brainwaves is 40 Hz (the limit between beta- and gamma-waves);
- the difference between these two tones will be so great that your brain will apperceive them as two different tones and won’t generate a binaural beat anymore.
Now, all that you need to know is how to get your hands on binaural music. We recommend YouTube for beginners or different apps which you can download from App Store.
There are many YouTube accounts that wrongfully offer standard relaxing music as binaural. Nevertheless, the good thing about YouTube is that you can adjust the playback speed and play the same track in different frequencies. For instance, you can play 10 Hz frequency with double speed to get a beat of 20 Hz.
Another way is a mobile app with a specific mind machine.
The effects of binaural beats
Binaural beats have many benefits. That’s why you can use then in so many different ways. As you are able to consciously control your mind state with their help, the possibilities seem endless. For starters, we’ve gathered some of the best examples of what you can do with binaural beats.
Newell, the author of the research on binaural beats, described their effects, which exceed imagination and mood and can affect consciousness on a deeper level. They can be especially useful in easing meditative states, especially for those who mastered meditation without any help like Newell did herself. “Those were binaural beats that actually started a mind-calming effect so I could achieve some progress in meditation”, she said.
She also mentioned that experienced practitioners can find binaural beats useful. “Several average practitioners tell us that the records amplify their experience and immerse them deeper than they have ever known and get them to the place that they know so well much faster.”
Our recommendation for meditation:
Frequency: 6 Hz
Duration: 30 minutes
Relaxation and sleep improvement
Insomnia and other sleep disorders may be complicated both mentally and physically as sleep is extremely important for body’s natural regeneration process. However, if can’t fall asleep…
To fall asleep, you need your mind to dive deep enough into a theta-state to tap into a delta-state, which is the deepest state of relaxation. That is the reason why specialists advise no less than 30 minutes of preparation time (with binaural beats) before going to sleep.
Our recommendation for relaxation and better sleep:
Frequency: 4 Hz
Duration: 15 minutes
Medicine relies on natural healing effects of music more and more these days. You can find the results of binaural beats healing effects testing.
A researcher Zampi tested 36 people with chronic pain for physical reaction to binaural beats. The tested subjects got treated with 6 Hz theta-frequency for 20 minutes every day.
The results of a 14-day research confirm the assumption that binaural beats effectively remove pain and at the same time dull the perception of pain. To put it simple, not only binaural beats relieve sharp pain, but also prevent any further pain.
Our recommendation for pain relief:
Frequency: 6 Hz
Duration: 20 minutes
Binaural beats for concentration
Have you ever had problems with concentrating attention? We’re all aware of that problem.
There are moments when it’s hard for you to advance and be productive; especially when you’re sitting in front of a computer every day and your tasks are quite monotonous. You get distracted pretty fast when your mind is not at ease. Being calm it is able to achieve the state of concentration and productivity. Imagine it as a radar open at all times for attention distraction and easily drawn to something new and presumably attractive. It’s not surprising that you quickly get distracted by less complicated things during fulfilling tasks that need a lot of thinking and mental concentration. That happens because your mind is by default looking for a way of less resistance. So, as soon as it finds a way to “avoid pain”, it will unconsciously make you prioritize simpler and less important things.