To listen to binaural beats, a person will need a pair of stereo headphones and an MP3 player or another music system. Those who do not see any reduction in anxiety might benefit from trying a different producer, type of sound, or frequency.
It is important to avoid using binaural beats therapy while undertaking tasks that require alertness and full attention, such as driving.
Binaural-beat perception originates in the inferior colliculus of the midbrain and the superior olivary complex of the brainstem, where auditory signals from each ear are integrated and precipitate electrical impulses along neural pathways through the reticular formation up the midbrain to the thalamus, auditory cortex, and other cortical regions.
Binaural beats can entrain the brain to different states of being, of which there are five key categories. The effect binaural beats have on listener is dependent on the brainwave state of the music. For example: To induce deep relaxation, we can listen to Theta state music. For entraining the brain to sleep deeper, we can listen to Delta state music. The benefits listed under each brainwave state are general associations and it should not be assumed that all frequencies within a state’s range will produce these benefits. There are specific frequencies associate with specific states of mind, and indeed different results can be experienced in the high, middle, and low areas of each brainwave state.
The highest frequency brain waves are apparently called gamma waves. These waves can have a frequency of anywhere between 25 and 100 Hz.
People whose brains produce more gamma waves are said to have greater ability to concentrate, focus and experience higher levels of cognition.
A recent study by Jirakittayakorn and Wongsawat tried to find whether “modulation of the brain activity can lead to manipulation of cognitive functions. The stimulus used in this study was 40-Hz binaural beat because binaural beat induces frequency following response.”
According to the study, listening to 40-Hz binaural beat for 20 minutes enhanced working memory function evaluated by word list recall task.
What most people don't realize is that although the creation of binaural beats music has only been possible through technological advancement in the last 100 or so years, the use of this natural science dates back thousands of years.
Ancient cultures were aware of how the brain could be entrained through sound repetition well before modern science was able to prove the process.
If we look back through history, we find many examples of music being used as medicine and therapy.
1. The ancient Greeks used music to ease stress, promote sleep, and soothe pain.
2. The Native Americans and Africans used singing and chanting as part of their healing rituals.
3. Even in language we see a connection between healing and music. For example, the Chinese character for medicine includes the character for music.
Of course, in times past, societies didn't refer to music therapy, binaural beats, or brainwave entrainment of any kind. But what they did know was that sound had powerful healing properties.
Interestingly, scientist Melinda Maxfield, PhD, conducted research on the drumbeats used during rituals of ancient cultures and found that they generally beat at a steady rate of 4.5 beats per second.
The study authors explain that there are five different categories of frequency pattern:
1. Delta pattern: Binaural beats in the delta pattern operate at a frequency of 0.5–4 Hz with links to a dreamless sleep. In the study, people who received a delta pattern frequency during sleep entered a deeper stage of sleep, according to electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scan results.
2. Theta pattern: Practitioners set binaural beats in the theta pattern to a frequency of 4–7 Hz. Theta patterns contribute to improved meditation, creativity, and sleep in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.
3. Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7–13 Hz and may encourage relaxation.
4. Beta pattern: Binaural beats in the beta pattern are at a frequency of 13–30 Hz. This frequency range may help promote concentration and alertness. However, it can also increase anxiety at the higher end of the range.
5. Gamma pattern: This frequency pattern accounts for a range of 30–50 Hz. The study authors suggest that these frequencies promote maintenance of arousal while a person is awake.