What Are Binaural Beats?
Binaural beat recordings are specially generated sounds, designed to alter our brainwaves and consciousness. The basic idea behind binaural beats is that our brains operate at certain bandwidths, which are measured in frequencies.
Our brainwaves change depending on how we are feeling, and what we are doing. Using binaural beats we can emulate natural brainwave frequencies and then slowly change them to another brainwave frequency. This is based on the theory of entrainment.
When the perceived beat frequency corresponds to the delta, theta, alpha, beta, or gamma range of brainwave frequencies, the brainwaves entrain to or move towards the beat frequency.
For example, if a 315 Hz sine wave is played into the right ear and a 325 Hz one into the left ear, the brain is entrained towards the beat frequency of 10 Hz, in the alpha range. Since the alpha range is associated with relaxation, this has a relaxing effect, or if in the beta range, more alertness.
An experiment with binaural sound stimulation using beat frequencies in the Beta range on some participants and the delta/theta range on other participants found better vigilance performance and mood in those in the awake alert state of beta-range stimulation.
Binaural beat stimulation has been used fairly extensively in attempts to induce a variety of states of consciousness, and there has been some work done in regards to the effects of these stimuli on relaxation, focus, attention, and states of consciousness.
Studies have shown that with repeated training to distinguish close frequency sounds that a plastic reorganization of the brain occurs for the trained frequencies and is capable of asymmetric hemispheric balancing.