You must have seen many types of optical illusions but have you ever heard about an auditory illusion? Well, in this article we will discuss the popular phenomenon of binaural beats.
What are binaural beats?
Binaural means ‘two ears’. Binaural beats is an illusion that is produced by hearing two different frequencies of sound in both ears. As a result, the third frequency of sound is heard which is formed by the illusion created in our brain.
The kind of illusion created by binaural beats depends on the age group of people. Older people might notice a different kind of illusion formed by sounds of different frequencies as compared to young people.
Why are people crazy about binaural beats?
Some people believe that listening to binaural beats increase concentration and decrease anxiety. This is why many students prefer listening to binaural beats while studying. And many people who suffer from anxiety often start listening to binaural beats to decrease their anxiety. The effectiveness of binaural beats in anxiety is not ascertained, though. Scientists believe that its effect varies from person to person.
Binaural beats benefits
Binaural beats can prove to be effective for some people. Many doctors are using binaural beats therapy for patients suffering from anxiety disorders or for those dealing with depression. People who want to elevate their moods can also listen to binaural beats. People often relate binaural beats with meditation. Therefore, it calms your body as meditation does.
Harms of binaural beats
Listening to binaural beats for long periods of time can harm your ears as well as your hearing ability. Your mind might, in return, get slow and confused over time.
Moreover, people can get addicted to listening to binaural beats for the uplifting of their moods. People suffering from anxiety issues might get comfortable with using binaural beats for longer durations of time.
Furthermore, if you’re in a habit of listening to songs in a loud volume, listening to binaural beats with a high volume might create a problem. Therefore, if you want to listen to binaural beats, keeping optimum volume and listening to it for the optimum duration of time is advisable.
How are they formed?
Binaural beats are often referred to as ‘auditory illusions’ which are formed by listening to different frequencies of sounds in each ear. These frequencies then produce another sound that would stop if we discontinue hearing one of the initial frequencies of sound. Therefore, you can not hear this auditory illusion through speakers. You need to plug in your headphones to listen to binaural beats.
The two sounds in each ear should have a frequency of less than 1000 hertz (Hz).
And the difference between the two should be less than 30 Hz, as suggested by a study.
Where can you find them?
If you go to YouTube and search ‘binaural beats’, you will see thousands of videos with binaural beats sound. There are videos as long as 2-4 hours. Some YouTubers also do live streaming of the binaural sounds. Other than YouTube, you might find mp3s of binaural beats which are easily available on the Internet. You just have to Google binaural beats.
What do binaural beats do to your brain?
Some scientists suggest listening to binaural beats daily for 30-40 minutes increases the focusing power of the Brain and makes you learn things more easily. When you listen to these beats, the neurons in your brain start firing actively and start transferring signals through the Corpus callosum, which in turn stimulates the mind.
They connect the left and right parts of the brain. Normally, we either use the left or the right side depending on our brains and their capabilities. People who use the left part of their brains can perform different activities well compared to people who use the right part of their brains.
Therefore, listening to binaural beats tricks your mind into a state of euphoria just like white noise and sometimes, music too.
Are binaural beats safe?
After going through the mixed comments on the advantages and disadvantages of binaural beats, you must be thinking – Are binaural beats safe for me? Should I listen to them? What will happen if I listen to binaural beats daily?
The answer to all these questions would be based on various studies. Scientists have done hundreds of research on this topic. Most of the scientists agree that you can listen to binaural beats for about 30 minutes each day without having any serious side effects. For safety, studies suggest that you should not increase volume to a point where it can harm your ears.
You can take precautions before you plan on listening to binaural beats. Make sure you listen to them in a low to medium volume. Make sure that you don’t listen to binaural beats for more than one hour a day.
Studies on binaural beats in the past
There are various studies done by various scientists over time. Some of them used EEG (electroencephalogram) to detect the electrical activity in the brain as a result of listening to binaural beats. Some tested groups of people of different age groups and different tastes in music. While some scientists tried increasing the duration of listening to binaural beats. The results turned out to be mostly different for each person.
Do binaural beats actually work?
After listening to the benefits of binaural beats, you must be wondering – do binaural beats actually work?
Yes, many scientists have proven that binaural beats are effective to some extent in calming people. They work by sending rapid neuron signals into the brain. The neurons continue firing and pass signals from the left side of the brain to the right side and vice versa.
Therefore, binaural beats are indeed helpful. Newer doctors are using them as an aid in treating few mind related disorders. They help people with therapy for stress, anxiety and other related diseases or conditions. Doctors these days prefer these methods too, in combination with conventional medication treatment.