I’ve been using binaural beats for some time and I highly recommend them.
What are binaural beats? Here’s what Wikipedia says:
Binaural beats or binaural tones are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states. The effect on the brainwaves depends on the difference in frequencies of each tone: for example, if 300 Hz was played in one ear and 310 in the other, then the binaural beat would have a frequency of 10 Hz.
The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the amplitude and sound localization of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject’s ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequencies of the tones must be below 1,000 hertz for the beating to be noticeable. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (less than or equal to 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise, the two tones will be heard separately and no beat will be perceived.
Here’s what that looks like:
It’s fascinating, and highly effective from my experience. I started using BBs only after I caught on to Apple apps on an early iPod Touch. BBs have been around a long time — since 1839 — but to me Apple’s devices and their app store made them highly accessible and easy to use. With the Apple BB apps you have control over the beat program, its duration and generally you have a choice of background music or sound. And they have definitely improved over the last several years.
What do I use BBs for? I use them for the infrequent times when I have trouble sleeping. There are several companies who produce good sleep-related BB programs. My all-time favorite is a BB program called ‘Critical Thinking’ from Banzai Labs. The Critical Thinking program uses theta frequency waves. The background music I almost always use unless I’m going BBs while working, is called Serenity which is an intriguing piece that adds to the effects of the beats. Here’s what the app looks like on my iPad:
I’ve emerged from a Critical Thinking program session thinking things not thought of before with enthusiasm and energy. Subtle and amazing.
Here is a list of brain waves and their frequencies range:
Beta – Range: 15-40 cycles – Low amplitude but fastest of the brain waves. We are in a Beta state when speaking, teaching, working, etc.
Alpha – Range: 9-14 cycles – Higher amplitude but slower brain wave. This wave manifests in a calm and peaceful state.
Theta – 5-8 cycles – Higher amplitude still; slower brain wave. These waves may be evocative of great ideas or positive healing benefits. Often attained through repetition – or when we have made a break from reality as in a daydream.
Delta – 1.5 to 4 cycles – Brain wave is very slow; amplitude is the greatest. Note: If the frequency should reach zero, we would be brain dead. This frequency manifests in deep, dreamless sleep.
Gamma – 26-70 Hz – These are sometimes included with Beta brain waves. They most often correspond to frequencies of 40 Hz or higher. Gamma waves are present during the waking process and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Read more here.
You can also find BBs through Amazon as CDs and MP3s. I’ve looked at BBs there but have never ordered or used any.
The only BBs I have purchased other than as an Apple app have been CDs through HemiSync from Monroe Products. Robert Monroe was a radio broadcaster in the late 1940s. In 1956 he began researching the effects of sound patterns on human consciousness. Read more about him here, and at Wikipedia. Bob Monroe died in 1995. His company seems to be moving ahead with available new technology and just produced their first mobile apps — it appears to be only for Apple devices at this point. I can recommend Monroe products in general. You will have to try them for yourself to see if they are a fit for you.
I suggest that you do some thorough research on binaural beats and their use — enough for you to feel comfortable prior using them. I suggest that you also trust the producer of the BB you decide to use. I have tried many programs, some I’ve felt were good, some were inferior quality, some I just did not like.
It took a while and a considerable amount of research for me to accept BBs enough to try them. After all, it’s brain * entrainment — isn’t that what we get with the deluge of marketing we’re presented with in so many formats? Not exactly, but it bears thought, and accepting responsibility for all decisions we make regarding our health and well-being.
* Entrainment – A body’s autonomic mechanism that synchs with strong, external rhythms, pulses or beats. We entrain to the rhythms around us all the time, although we are not aware of it most of the time. [See this website for more.]