Fash­ion does­n’t just exist in clothes, hair­styles, or car designs. New items and inven­tions are also sub­ject to this phe­nom­e­non, and fash­ion can go away and return again in a slight­ly mod­i­fied form. So it is with an inter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non called “bin­au­r­al beats” or “bin­au­r­al beats.” What it is, and how it can be applied, we under­stand togeth­er with Med­AboutMe.

phantom sound phenomenon

The first to notice this inter­est­ing effect were not sci­en­tists at all, but musi­cians — the vio­lin­ist Giuseppe Tar­ti­ni and the organ­ist Sorg, and this hap­pened in the 18th cen­tu­ry. At the begin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry, Hein­rich Wil­helm Bove tried to study the acoustic phe­nom­e­non, but he was pre­vent­ed from achiev­ing any intel­li­gi­ble result by both the lack of a sci­en­tif­ic base at that time and tech­ni­cal means, name­ly, stereo head­phones, which were still very far from being invent­ed.

The first sig­nif­i­cant research results appeared only in the 20th cen­tu­ry, and that’s what they were.

If a sep­a­rate sound sig­nal is fed into each of a person’s ears, with a dif­fer­ence between them of sev­er­al hertz, the super­po­si­tion of these sounds caus­es a “phan­tom” sig­nal in the brain, equal in fre­quen­cy to the dif­fer­ence in fre­quen­cy of the two orig­i­nal sig­nals. More­over, in real­i­ty this sound does not exist, it is an illu­sion that occurs in the brain.

For exam­ple, if a sound with a fre­quen­cy of 124 Hz is fed into one ear through an ear­piece, and 114 Hz into the oth­er, then the com­bi­na­tion of these two sig­nals will be per­ceived by the brain as one, not real­ly exist­ing, and equal in fre­quen­cy to 10 Hz.

Sci­en­tists have sug­gest­ed that the impact of bin­au­r­al beats (BR) is able to syn­chro­nize the work of both hemi­spheres of the brain in a spe­cial way. And that by select­ing sound sig­nals so that the phan­tom fre­quen­cy cor­re­sponds to one of the fre­quen­cies that deter­mine the state of con­scious­ness, it is pos­si­ble to obtain inter­est­ing effects. For exam­ple, by choos­ing ini­tial fre­quen­cies so that the BR fre­quen­cy cor­re­sponds to gam­ma waves with a fre­quen­cy of about 40 Hz, max­i­mum men­tal activ­i­ty can be stim­u­lat­ed. And by turn­ing on the sig­nals, the dif­fer­ence between which cor­re­sponds to the fre­quen­cy of alpha waves (7–13 Hz), it will turn out to cause a state of relax­ation and drowsi­ness, theta waves (4–7 Hz) — deep med­i­ta­tion, etc.

Science and myths

Science and myths

Any inter­est­ing dis­cov­ery nec­es­sar­i­ly arous­es burn­ing inter­est among all kinds of char­la­tans, eso­teri­cists and meta­phys­i­cal­ly inclined per­sons.

Bin­au­r­al beats have not escaped this fate.

It was said that this “mag­ic effect” is used in their prac­tices by shamans and sor­cer­ers to achieve a state of altered con­scious­ness. Although how they do this with­out sep­a­rate­ly sup­ply­ing sound sig­nals of a cer­tain fre­quen­cy to each ear sep­a­rate­ly is com­plete­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble, but with­out this con­di­tion, the effect does not appear.

If we are talk­ing about an altered state of con­scious­ness, those who tried to cre­ate an “acoustic drug” and make mon­ey on it could not help but appear. In the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry, “audio drugs” records sold by the ton. Until nar­col­o­gists explained that no sound can cause the expect­ed state of “psy­che­del­ic trip”.

At the begin­ning of 2022, Aus­tralian researchers pub­lished the result of an analy­sis of a sur­vey con­duct­ed among more than 30,000 vol­un­teers from around the world. It turned out that more than 5% of respon­dents are famil­iar with bin­au­r­al beats. 75% lis­tened to the sig­nals in order to try to solve prob­lems with sleep and relax­ation, 35% hoped to change their mood, and almost 12% hon­est­ly admit­ted that they were try­ing to get the effect sim­i­lar to the effect of the use of psy­choac­tive sub­stances. More than half of the respon­dents intend­ed to use BR to mas­ter the tech­nique of lucid dream­ing, as well as to get an “out-of-body expe­ri­ence”, “enter the astral plane” or “merge with the uni­verse.” Well, and enhance the effect of the use of psy­che­delics, at the same time.

Today, var­i­ous heal­ers, gurus, sor­cer­ers and meta­physi­cians are try­ing to adapt the BR effect for their own needs, or rather, for pump­ing mon­ey out of the wal­lets of gullible peo­ple. They promise to cure all dis­eases with the help of BR, from pro­sta­ti­tis to dia­betes. Devel­op extra­or­di­nary abil­i­ties, stim­u­late the open­ing of the “third eye” and so on. For those who were delight­ed, we imme­di­ate­ly inform you: it does not work.

But real sci­en­tists also con­tin­ue to study the phe­nom­e­non of BR.

Binaural beats in medicine and beyond

The BR effect is tried to be applied in var­i­ous fields.

Tech­niques for the use of BR in the study of for­eign lan­guages ​​have been devel­oped. How­ev­er, in this case, bin­au­r­al beats are used in com­bi­na­tion with oth­er audio­vi­su­al mate­ri­als, so it is dif­fi­cult to deter­mine what exact­ly helps stu­dents learn the lan­guage more eas­i­ly. Reviews of such meth­ods are good, but their objec­tiv­i­ty remains in doubt.

Obser­va­tion­al results have been pub­lished that allow assess­ing the impact of BR as pos­i­tive in pro­vid­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal assis­tance to can­cer patients, peo­ple with post-trau­mat­ic syn­drome and spe­cial­ists whose pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties require con­stant ner­vous ten­sion and increased respon­si­bil­i­ty.

In par­tic­u­lar, sci­en­tists from Amur State Uni­ver­si­ty pub­lished an arti­cle in 2021 report­ing on the suc­cess­ful use of BR as part of psy­cho­log­i­cal assis­tance to doc­tors prone to pro­fes­sion­al burnout syn­drome in the con­text of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic.

A paper by Kore­an sci­en­tists pub­lished in 2019 in the jour­nal Fron­tiers in Human Neu­ro­sciens describes the results of a BR study to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using bin­au­r­al beats to help fall asleep and treat insom­nia. The researchers report that BR at 6 Hz, com­bined with the sen­so­ry merid­i­an auto­nom­ic response per­cep­tu­al phe­nom­e­non, is indeed able to induce brain sig­nals need­ed to fall asleep and improve sleep qual­i­ty.

Amer­i­can psy­choneu­rol­o­gists stud­ied the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using bin­au­r­al beats in the treat­ment of anx­i­ety dis­or­ders. A pos­i­tive result was obtained, but only in the group where the use of BR was com­bined with drug ther­a­py and med­i­ta­tion. The results of the work were pub­lished in 2020.

Inter­est­ing results were obtained in 2017 by Span­ish researchers who stud­ied the effects of BR on mem­o­riza­tion process­es. It turned out that, depend­ing on the fre­quen­cy of BR, long-term mem­o­ry can both improve and dete­ri­o­rate. This gives grounds for the con­clu­sion that the phe­nom­e­non of bin­au­r­al rhythm requires fur­ther research.


Although there are very few reports of the neg­a­tive effects of BR, and all of them are about frus­tra­tion and annoy­ance from lis­ten­ing, doc­tors warn of the risk that the hear­ing organs can be exposed to when the sig­nal is too loud. You need to make sure that the sound in the head­phones is not too loud.

There are doubts!

There are doubts!

In con­trast to the exam­ples of pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence in the use of BR, there are many oth­er points of view, and also con­firmed by research.

In 2017, Span­ish sci­en­tists report­ed in an arti­cle pub­lished in Fron­tiers in Human Neu­ro­sciens that they found no sig­nif­i­cant changes in the brain EEG of par­tic­i­pants for any of the stud­ied BR fre­quen­cies. There were also no changes in heart rate and in terms of skin con­duc­tance. As a result, it was con­clud­ed that stim­u­la­tion with bin­au­r­al beats can­not be con­sid­ered as a tool for chang­ing the emo­tion­al state and brain activ­i­ty.

Sim­i­lar results were obtained by sci­en­tists from Cana­da and France, how­ev­er, only 16 peo­ple took part in their study.

Expert com­ment

Hec­tor Oroz­co Perez, neu­ro­sci­en­tist

Our study, car­ried out with the high­est pos­si­ble puri­ty of the exper­i­ment, did not reveal any effect of bin­au­r­al beats on the behav­ior or mood of 16 stu­dent vol­un­teers who took part in the exper­i­ments. The sub­jects react­ed even more strong­ly to ordi­nary audio sig­nals. The pat­tern of brain activ­i­ty under the influ­ence of bin­au­r­al beats real­ly changed, which was con­firmed by elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy. But the “con­trol”, non-bin­au­r­al audio sig­nals changed it even more notice­ably. And none of the sig­nals lis­tened to showed changes in brain waves that could be inter­pret­ed as an increase in con­cen­tra­tion, relax­ation, or oth­er spe­cif­ic state of con­scious­ness of the par­tic­i­pants. This result calls into ques­tion the claim that bin­au­r­al beats can affect brain func­tion in some unique way.

Amer­i­can sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Arling­ton stud­ied the effect of BR on con­cen­tra­tion and the abil­i­ty to remem­ber infor­ma­tion, and also did not reveal a sig­nif­i­cant effect, as report­ed in an arti­cle pub­lished in 2022.

So is it worth believ­ing that lis­ten­ing to audio record­ings with bin­au­r­al beats will help to cope with insom­nia, for exam­ple, or with anx­i­ety?

Strict­ly speak­ing, indis­putable evi­dence of the effec­tive­ness of BR has not yet been received, this phe­nom­e­non requires a deep­er study. But no one can­celed the place­bo effect, so try it, maybe every­thing will work out. But we rec­om­mend that you still con­sult a doc­tor to solve exist­ing prob­lems, clas­si­cal med­i­cine has a large arse­nal of treat­ments. Per­haps you can find use­ful infor­ma­tion in the arti­cle “Healthy sleep: how to get rid of insom­nia.”

От Yraa

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