If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.~Nikola Tesla
I remember the first time I heard the words, “Binaural Beats.” I was listening to a podcast and half focused on what was being said. I had to rewind and listen to it again.
“Oh, they’re talking about music, not an exotic vegetable,” I thought. 😆 Silly me.
Curious as a cat, I was hooked.
Let’s talk about what binaural beats or binaural music IS first. Then we’ll talk about the practical applications (what it can do for you), and finally where and how to listen to this miracle music.
Binaural Beats / Binaural Music Defined
So, what exactly is binaural music?
Simply put, when you listen with headphones, one ear hears one beat or frequency and the other ear hears a different beat/frequency. Your brain resolves the difference between the two and “hears” or perceives a single, newly-created third frequency.
The speed of these frequencies or vibrations is measured in Hertz or Hz. Humans can hear frequencies between 20 Hz to 20 kHz. If a binaural beat creates a tone lower than 20Hz, you won’t hear it but that doesn’t matter, because the brain is still picking up on this vibration and gaining the benefits.
For example, if one ear hears 50 Hz and the other ear hears 40 Hz, the brain will process the difference and create a third sound vibrating at 10 Hz. This is an auditory illusion. Pretty nifty.
When the whole brain is synchronized, with both left and right hemispheres in balance, there are measurable chemical reactions in the brain that benefit blood flow, respiratory function, and more. Check out the results here at UCLA’s Center for East-West Medicine and their HealthTunes Program. Binaural music has been used to treat chemotherapy patients, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.
Sometimes, Binaural Beats are mixed with Isochronic Tones and scored with music to make it more palatable for human consumption…i.e., if you just listened to all these tones by themselves, it wouldn’t be very pleasant IMHO. 😌 You can, and people do… but it’s not my cup of tea.
Binaural Music is simply music or sounds of nature (like ocean waves) that are recorded over the binaural beat tracks.
What are Isochronic Tones?
I’m glad you asked. Isochronic tones are a single note turned on and off at a consistent rate to create a frequency, also measured in Hertz. For example, 10 beats played in 10 seconds is 10Hz. It’s that simple.
Listening to a certain frequency trains your brain waves to mimic that pattern. This is called “Entrainment.” This is very beneficial for achieving whatever you desire.
Entrainment is basically defined as two bodies in motion, that eventually sync up and vibrate in harmony.
- A good example of entrainment occurs when you’re walking alongside a friend, having a conversation, and then realize after a few minutes your footsteps are totally in sync.
- Another example is breathing…I used to breathe slowly and deeply to calm my babies down for nap time while holding them close to my chest. They eventually mimicked my breath, slowed their own…and eventually fell asleep. Worked like magic.
- Christian Huygens is the Dutch physicist who invented the grandfather clock in the 17th century. For one of his experiments on entrainment, he set up a room full of pendulum clocks, swinging at different paces and left the room. When he returned, the clocks had all fallen into the same motion, in sync. Thus, entrainment.
- Think of tuning forks. If you tap one tuning fork and place another non-vibrating tuning fork next to it, the second fork will automatically pick up the vibration of the first and start vibrating in unison…so cool!
This is basically what you are trying to achieve by listening to binaural music. The newly created frequency easily trains your brain to resonate in that desired state. You just have to decide which of the brain wave states you would like to achieve, depending on your goal.
5 Types of Brain Waves
There are five basic brain wave frequencies ranging from Delta (slowest & longest wave) to Gamma (fastest & shortest wave).
- Delta (1 – 4 Hz) ~ deep sleep, relaxation, meditation, reduces anxiety.
- Theta (4 – 8 Hz) ~ REM sleep, Lucid dreaming, meditation, intuition, relaxation, decreases anxiety, reduces inflammation.
- Alpha (8 – 12 Hz) ~ normal relaxed brain function, promotes positivity, decreases anxiety, ability to complete tasks, sense of ease & calm.
- Beta (12 – 30 Hz) normal active brain function, increased concentration, alertness, problem-solving, decision making, improved memory.
- Gamma (30 Hz & above) ~ memory recall, peak performance, high level creativity & focus, higher consciousness.
Another way to train your brain function that is becoming more mainstream is called Neurofeedback, which is a much more complex process and something you can look into but beyond the scope of this article.
What Can Binaural Beats Do For Me?
Binaural beats are great for achieving the following physical AND mental benefits:
- Improve Quality of Sleep
- Enhance Mood
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Reduce Stress & Anxiety
- Promote Focus & Concentration (this is what I use it for most of the time)
- Boost Creativity
- Increase Cognition & Clear Thinking
- Improve Working Memory, Short & Long-Term Memory
- Relief from Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Achieve Deep Meditative States
- Boost Metabolism & Weight Loss
- Alleviate Chronic Pain
Let’s say you are wide awake and need to get to sleep for a big meeting tomorrow. Ideally, you would listen to binaural music that has been created with lower sleeping frequencies to put your brain into that yummy Theta state.
On the flip side, if you want to concentrate or focus, you would listen to specific higher frequency tones so your own brain waves will match up and you can get your work done! I listen to binaural beats with isochronic tones almost every time I sit down to write.
I cannot concentrate on writing words on the page or doing math while listening to popular music with lyrics, so I choose to block out ambient sound around me with binaural music — no words, no human voices.
My daughter listens to music with lyrics, watches a video, and does math all at the same time. She needs that and it somehow works for her. We are clearly wired differently. I need to drown everything out to hyperfocus.
Binaural music works wonders for me.
Where Can I Find Binaural Music?
This is easy, I have a few recommendations of what I listen to on YouTube:
- Jason Lewis – Mind Amend is my most recent find. He uses binaural beats incorporated into music as well as isochronic tones to create amazing tracks for study, sleep, anxiety, depression, energy boosts, focus, etc. You need something, he has recorded it. This guy rocks at what he does.
- I also really like Good Vibes – Binaural Beats. This is one of the first channels I starting listening to and they are still creating really long compositions, anywhere from 1-10 hours, of amazing binaural music. You should try them out.
- Yellow Brick Cinema – offers beautiful playlists.
- ZenLifeRelax is another great channel on YouTube.
- The Brainwave Hub is dedicated to binaural, isochronic and monaural beats. Monaural beats are produced using two separate tones like binaural beats, but they are mixed before entering the ear. So…isochronic & monaural beats alone do not require a headset to be effective.
- Finally, Power Thoughts Meditation Club offers one of my FAVORITE recordings that is tuned to the 432 Hz frequency, known as the natural, mathematical frequency of the universe.
If you’re a nerd about math, 432 Hz resonates consistently with the Golden Ratio, Phi, or the Fibonacci sequence. This is a deep dive into mathematics here and would require a separate post altogether. Just know this…Math & Music are intrinsically linked.
If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.~Albert Einstein
How Do I Listen to Binaural Beats?
This one is pretty easy. Because the music is produced to use to asynchronous tones in each ear, it is best to use headphones. Noise cancelling headphones are best, but if you want to still be aware of the other critters roaming around your house, or sibling squabbles, as is the case in many homes these days, regular earbuds will work well.
I have a iPhone so I use these Apple EarPods all the time. They are on sale on Amazon right now for $19.99! I am buying a few extra pair because I lose or misplace them on a daily basis. I need like six of them stashed around my house. This annoys my hubby, but that’s what works for me, so be it. 😉
I don’t like the wireless, Bluetooth type, because of the unknown effects of these frequencies transmitting directly into my ear canal… and essentially affecting my brain. I am still on the fence about that. I remember when Bluetooth headsets became a huge thing in the early 2000s. I was all over that, even though they were still a bit clunky and some just fell out of my ear all the time. ha!
But after a few years, research emerged claiming wireless headsets could emit dangerous radiation. Since then, there has been little research to deny that claim in the long-term, so until there are 100% positive proof studies claiming their safety, I’m perfectly happy going old-school.
Headsets I Recommend:
- Apple EarPods with lightning connector. Very basic, does the job.
- These gorgeous Mpow Headshpones are noise-canceling and can be used wired or wireless. And they come in this pretty shiny rose-pink color! And, and, and…they are on sale for $49.99! These would make a great accessory for all those Zoom meetings with teachers or coworkers this fall. Plus, they are a great inexpensive alternative to the professional, $200-300 noise-canceling headphones that musicians use.
- And the mother of all headsets (according to my husband) is this Beyer Dynamic wired headset for professional recording. At $159, it’s an amazing headset. A little pricier than the pretty-in-pink set above, but if you are serious about your sound, these are great.
- If you want to use a headset with the standard 3.5 mm jack on an iPhone that has a lightning port, you can get this Lightning to 3.5 mm Adaptor.
If you don’t have a headset of any kind, don’t worry, binaural music can be listened to from your computer, your phone, your TV, your iPod (if you still have one…I do!), your CD Player, Walkman, Cassette Recorder, Record Player, 8-Track Tape Player… whoops I’m dating myself here.
You get where I’m going with this.
Seriously, don’t let the lack of headphones prevent you from taking advantage of binaural music. It can still help. Sometimes I play it on my computer while I’m wandering around the house cleaning & tidying up.
And it goes without saying…if you’re trying to fall asleep, earbuds are better than a clunky headset…and nothing at all works too. ☺️
Note: Because of the pulsing tones (similar to the effect of strobe lights), please check with your doctor if you have any conditions, like epilepsy, that might be compromised before listening to this type of music.
Everything in Life is Vibration.~Albert Einstein
Our greatest scientists have proven that every single thing in our universe is in constant motion…from your toddler crawling across the floor for the very first time, to the chair you are sitting on. Even objects that appear to be lifeless are actually vibrating or oscillating at various frequencies.
The world is a fascinating place, don’t you agree?
Try listening to a few of the links above and let me know what you think. Now pardon me while I tune in to a theta recording. I need a nap. 😴