Binaural beats - magical tones for peace of mind and better performance

We all know the power that sounds have over us. Tones and melodies affect our balance, ability to concentrate and can improve health. Buddhist monks already knew how to recognize frequencies that work more deeply than others. They used them during meditations, for relaxation and when working with consciousness and mind. Even more effective are the combinations of frequencies that create binaural beats.

How it ripples in our brain

As our brain works, an electromagnetic field is created around it. On the EEG, we can measure how the frequency of the brain's electromagnetic field changes as a result of the activity of the neurons. When we are more efficient and think more, the brain emits waves in the range of 40-100 Hz. When we relax and chat with friends, it vibrates more strongly at frequencies of 8-40 Hz. The so-called alpha waves (8–12 Hz) were measured in resting people as early as 1929 by the German psychologist and inventor of EEG Hans Berger. He found that as people's activity increased, additional waves would be added, which he labeled beta . Individual parts of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex just behind the eyes, emit different frequencies during different activities. Although the principle of brain waves is common to all of humanity, we are slightly different from one another in terms of structure and exact values. Our brain waves help us understand why we get along with someone and why we don't.

Don't make waves

"Getting on the same wavelength" is not as empty a saying as it might seem. When our brainwaves are too different, we are literally "out of sync". Interference is a phenomenon that occurs whenever two or more waves meet. Waves that harmonize with each other are so-called coherent - i.e. compatible. And we are either compatible or not.

Brain waves correspond to temperament, they differ between introverts and extroverts and with different emotions . The brain waves of people talking and listening to each other synchronize . Coexistence thus promotes mutual understanding, the result of which can be greater compatibility and a more similar perception .

Brain waves - the frequency of our performance

Alpha waves - 8-12 Hz - well-being, relaxation, positivity, social interaction; during the day, among people

Beta waves - 14-30 Hz - concentration, good cognitive and analytical skills, increased anxiety; during the day, during learning and work performance

Gamma Vny - 30-100 Hz - high awareness, intuition, focused attention, hypersensitivity; during shock performances, in stressful and crisis situations

Delta waves - 1-4 Hz - sleep, anti-stress effect, healing processes, essential for long-term memory; bduring NREM sleep

Theta waves –4–8 Hz – meditation, dreams, creativity, relaxation; in REM stages of sleep and during meditation

Some details about brain waves are still hidden from neurologists and psychologists, but it has already been discovered that the frequency of alpha waves decreases with aging already after the age of twenty, that they are affected by drugs and alcohol, and we also know for sure that we can modulate them externally, and thereby improve our performance and peace of mind . And that's exactly what binaural beats do.

Binaural beats

Binaural beats are sounds that the human ear creates by itself when listening to two different frequencies in stereo. Each note has its own unique frequency, which indicates its pitch. In order to create a binaural beat in the brain, two tones must not be more than 30 Hz apart and must be received in stereo by each ear separately, and they must also be tones with frequencies up to 1000 Hz. 

A single-bar C has a frequency of 261 Hz, a single-bar D, which is a tone higher than C, a frequency of 294 Hz. The difference between them is 33 Hz, so listening to them in each ear does not produce a separate binaural beat (data is rounded). If, however, instead of a single-bar D, we used a single-bar Cs in the other ear (i.e. just a semitone above the C), we would get a difference of just over 15 Hz. We created a binaural beat.

Binaural beats were first introduced to the public by biophysicist Geral Oster in 1973 . But already 150 years before him, the physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered that when a person listens to slightly different frequencies with each ear separately, he has the ability to create an illusory, completely new sound - a beat. It is actually a frequency response, diffraction , which is created by vibrations in the skull. This sound, the tone that forms in the brain, this "third" frequency/vibration is healing. On the same principle, the ear creates it when drumming in space, which was once used by shamans during tribal rituals to achieve a healing trance.

The result of listening to binaural beats is a better cooperation of neurons, which improves the health of the organism and its psychological balance. In addition, some believe that their brain moves to higher levels of consciousness, which is what the actors of ancient rituals were also convinced of. Oster revealed to humanity the enormous potential of binaural beats for treating anxiety, pain, improving memory, concentration and mental balance .

Why are binaural beats healing?

When listening, the brain reacts with the so-called frequency following response (FFR) . This means that there will be broad stimulation of neural circuits and synchronization of brain waves. In addition, the difference frequency of the binaural beat (up to 30 Hz) is related to the frequencies present in states of deep relaxation and deep sleep. The result is therefore a general relaxation similar to meditative states, a reduction in stress, but also less pain. The process the brain goes through while listening is called brainwave entrainment. It can also be achieved with some visual effects (a certain type of flashing) or electrical stimulation, and it can also be trained with neurofeedback.

For better sleep and focus, but also for better relationships with people

Tuning brainwaves with binaural beats reduces nervous tension, harmonizes the transmission of impulses between neurons and allows the brain to work better. Synchronization also leads to better social interaction.

According to users and according to studies, the most noticeable effect of binaural beats is:

Binaural beats have been successfully used as a substitute for anxiolytics (drugs against anxiety and phobias) in preparing patients for surgery , and some studies suggest that they could also positively influence cognitive abilities (learning) . Listeners also mention higher creativity or better intuition.

The intensity of the binaural beat is affected by the size of the skull, the shape of the ear canal and the nasal and oral cavities. Individuals who suffer from epileptic seizures must be careful, for them all methods of brainwave entrainment are a risk.

How to listen to binaural beats

Definitely with headphones. In normal listening, this is the only reliable way to get the sound to each ear truly separately. If you skillfully set up drummers or speakers in a larger space, you can also achieve a binaural beat. But in normal conditions (for example in a room) without headphones, the frequency is mostly composed before it reaches each ear separately. The type of headphones does not matter.

How to choose on YouTube

Making binaural beats electronically isn't difficult, YouTube is full of it for free (search for "binaural beats"). Most authors work with frequencies aimed at a specific goal - concentration, study, relaxation, sleep... It is usually stated in the title, you can choose accordingly. Creation is based on the effect of frequencies on human brain waves, as we write about them in the introduction. Binaural beats in recordings are often complemented by isochronous pulses - this is the repetition of the same frequencies, which probably also contributes to the synchronization of brain waves (brainwave entrainment, they are the subject of ongoing research).

Some of the allures of binaural beat songwriters - such as entering the fifth dimension of higher consciousness - are not entirely based on scientific research... But you may not care. Binaural beats are a proven and increasingly detailed biohacking method and certainly one of the significant supporting solutions to a number of typical problems of today. It would be a shame to let them lie idle.