Explaining binaural beats - Deepstash

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Sounds like hype: there's scant evidence the 'binaural beats' illusion relaxes your brain

Explaining binaural beats

  • Binaural beats is a perceptual illusion that happens when two slightly different frequencies (notes) are played into each ear separately, usually using headphones.
  • The resonance between the two frequencies is interpreted as a third sound - or binaural beat - and is heard as a frequency between the two played frequencies.
  • The claim is that this third frequency prompts brain cells to begin firing at the same frequency, which purportedly is similar to the frequency of brain waves that occur during deep sleep at our most relaxed states.

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The claims of the binaural beats industry
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Many companies are making daring affirmations that binaural beats work like “digital drugs” to “biohack” your brain, that have the power to unlock your memory and creativity while keeping a...

Binaural beats might affect our brains in some way

They may boost our attention span, calm our anxiety and promote pain relief, although evidence is still insufficient. Studies showed that the effects increased the longer people listened.

But whatever mechanism is creating these changes remains unknown.

How binaural beats work

You can hear these beats best with a pair of good headphones. When each ear picks up a slightly different pitch, the brain tries to compensate and finds a frequency somewhere in the middle. This supposedly causes both hemispheres of the brain to harmonize their brainwaves, a phenomenon called neural entrainment.

Brainwaves are the regular patterns that firing neurons create in our brains, so binaural beats could be bringing these rhythmic patterns into alignment (some research still debates this).

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When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

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