Binaural beats are an auditory biohack designed to facilitate brainwave entrainment.
Just as pulses of neurons firing are measured with frequency, so too is sound.
The human ear can hear sounds with a frequency (pitch) between 30Hz and 18,000Hz.
How Binaural Beats work
In order to induce any brainwaves other than Gamma brainwaves, you need the brain to follow frequencies below 30 Hz. If you want to use sound waves for the entrainment, the problem is that humans can only hear sound waves with a frequency above 30 Hz. That’s why you need to use the phenomenon of Beats as a bio-hack to entrain the brain:
Wearing headphones, you listen to an audio track that pumps one frequency or tone in one ear and a different frequency or tone in the other ear. This means that there is an almost imperceptible difference in sound coming into your left and right ear.
Hence the term bi (meaning two) and aural (of the ear). The difference in the frequency between the left and right ear will be the frequency of the beating and therefore the target frequency for your brainwave entrainment.
If you want to play around with creating some beats, check out this applet.
Often times white noise (rain) is used in conjunction with these tones to help relax the mind and put it in a more malleable state. The result is that you can target a variety of different brainwave states that can yield varied benefits.
While the effect of any form of music on a human individual is highly personal and therefore resistant to generalization, a variety of research shows potential improvements for everything from cognitive performance to enhanced relaxation.
A UK study with control group from 2005 showed significant reduction in anxiety for pre-operative patients listening to binaural beats prior to surgery (source: http://www.binbeat.com/images/binauralsandanxiety.pdf).
Where to get Binaural Beats
You can find binaural beats tracks for sale online or on YouTube.
Aubrey Marcus, the author of ‘Own the Day, Own your Life’, has produced two albums of binaural beats. Together you can purchase them for US$35 here.
Click here to download ‘Earth Piece’ for free, Aubrey’s favourite 30 minute track for a mid-day power nap.
My favourite Binaural Beats App is Brainwave: 35 Binaural Programs.
You can get it on iTunes. It’s only US$4.99 and has a programme for all sorts of occasions. Check it out. Definitely worth its money.