If you’re looking for ways to cope with stress or anxiety, sound therapy might be a technique you’re using to calm down and relax.
Often, when people are stressed or going through an emotional period, whether good or bad, they will turn to music. Certain melodies and vocals can come together to change your entire mood.
But did you know that you can use certain sounds to control your brain?
Binaural beats work similarly to your favorite song, as they can change your mood or state of being while listening to them. What makes binaural beats different is the fact that, with a better understanding of them, they can be used to better communicate with your brain.
If you’ve ever searched on YouTube or Google for music that helps you concentrate or meditative music for sleeping, you may have come across binaural beats already – but quite a few people aren’t sure how, or if, they work.
To understand binaural beats and how to properly use them, you need to understand the different brain waves going through your brain right now and their frequencies.
In this article, we’ll discuss what binaural beats are and how they work, how they were discovered, and how you can use them to help improve your life.
What are binaural beats and how do they work?
Binaural (meaning to use both ears) beats are audio illusions for your ears. The illusion is created by playing two separate frequencies into each ear at the same time. Your brain takes the difference between these two frequencies to create a new frequency – the binaural beat.
For the beats to work properly, the frequencies played in each ear should be less than 1000hz and with a difference no higher than 40 Hz.
Here’s an example:
Imagine you are wearing headphones. In your left ear, you are hearing frequencies of 432 Hz, and in the right ear, you are hearing frequencies of 438 Hz.
Your brain isn’t going to process those two tones individually. What happens is that the brain hears a new tone of 6 Hz which is the difference between 438 and 432. The activity of your brain waves then syncs to the new frequency and affects your emotions and perceptions.
Once you know the different brain waves, what frequency they occur at, and the characteristics of each one, you can then find binaural beats that play that frequency.
The connection between frequencies and brain waves
Brain waves are electrical signals that communicate with the neurons in our brain. They happen at different frequencies and are measured in hertz by an EEG machine. Your brain cycles through these different brain waves throughout the day, and it depends on what you are doing at the present moment. Each of the brain waves has a name and listening to binaural beats that are within the same frequency of the brain wave or state of mind you’d like to be in the can, in a sense, summon that particular brain wave.
Let’s look at the different brain waves and their frequencies.
Frequency Range: 35-100 Hz
Best for Problem-solving, processing information, creativity, memory recollection, learning
Gamma waves are the fastest waves with the highest frequency produced by your brain. They occur when you are laser-focused on a problem. An example of an activity that might evoke gamma waves is things like logic puzzles. Another example is if you’re building or putting together a very detail-oriented project. Anything that requires your full attention and all problem-solving skills can lead to this state.
While doing any type of work that requires you to learn and maintain new information, try listening to gamma wave binaural beats. Binaural beats that produce gamma wave frequencies are great for studying or solving complicated issues.
Frequency Range: 15-30 Hz
Best for alertness, active engagement, concentration
As you’re reading this, your brain is likely producing beta waves. Activities that require your mental attention and for you to actively engage in what you’re doing typically produce these brain waves. Beta waves are the most frequently produced brain waves as you are doing various tasks throughout your day.
If you’re ever working on a task that you need to focus on, but you’re having a hard time doing so, try listening to binaural beats with beta waves. They are great for helping you concentrate on the task at hand and for getting through tough assignments.
Frequency Range: 9-14 Hz
Best for: Relaxation, positive thoughts, lowering stress, and anxiety
Have you ever been working on something for so long that you walk away to give your brain a break? During that break, your brain produces alpha waves. These waves are slower and put you in a state of rest. The brain is typically still active, but not focusing on anything in particular.
Listening to binaural beats that promote alpha waves in the brain can help you wind down after a long day, or get into a peaceful meditative state. Alpha waves encourage positive thoughts and feelings too, so if you’re feeling down, try them to uplift your mood.
Frequency Range: 5-8 Hz
Best for: meditating, creative thought, deep relaxation, creating new memories
Sometimes, while driving a road that you’ve driven a thousand times, your mind will begin to wander. You’re fully paying attention, but you’ve gone into autopilot. Next thing you know, you’re pulling into your driveway and don’t remember the drive home. Your mind may have started producing theta waves. They occur when your mind begins to daydream, you’re in a deep meditative state, or the lightest stages of sleep.
The best ideas can come to you while your mind is producing theta waves because your mind is free to wander. Try listening to binaural beats that help produce them if you’re wanting to relax, meditate, or get your creative juices flowing.
Frequency Range: 1-4 Hz
Best for: deep sleep, healing, energy restoration
Delta waves are the slowest of all brain waves. They occur during the deepest sleep stages, so, while you’re in REM sleep and dreamland, your brain is producing delta waves. These sleep stages also allow the body to restore and heal itself and regain energy.
Deep sleep and REM sleep are required for you to wake up and feel fully rejuvenated. If you’ve experienced sleeping all night yet waking up in the morning still tired, your brain might not have entered these stages to produce delta waves. For a night of deep, restful sleep, try listening to binaural beats that encourage delta waves.
How were binaural beats discovered?
In 1839, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered binaural beats. He published what he had learned in a scientific journal called Repertorium der Physik. Research on binaural beats continued and almost a century and a half later, Dr, Gerald Oster would publish an article in Scientific America titled “Auditory Beats in the Brain”. His article compiled Dove’s research along with new findings from the past 134 years.
Oster, a biophysicist, saw many medical advancements that binaural beats could provide and continued his research and patient studies.
From there, Thomas Campbell, a physicist, and Dennis Mennerich, an electrical engineer, worked under the direction of Robert Monroe studying the effects of binaural beats on consciousness. Monroe used their finding to create the binaural beat technology self-development industry and formed The Monroe Institute to continue binaural research and education.
Benefits of listening to binaural beats
Binaural beats are great for people who are stressed, suffering from anxiety, or having trouble focusing or sleeping. That said, anyone can benefit from listening to binaural beats. If you’re doing any type of research or writing, the right frequencies can help you concentrate and collect your thoughts better.
Many people use it to train their brains to meditate better as well. When starting a new meditation routine, it can be hard to quiet your mind. This is why people use binaural beats to help them. Lower frequencies produce calming and relaxing effects that lead to quicker and more productive meditative states.
Along with the ability to encourage your brain into the frequency, you need when you need it, there are multiple other benefits.
Some of those benefits are:
- Increased overall focus
- Lower stress and reduce anxiety
- More restful sleep
- Increased creativity
- Improved memory retention
- Feeling relaxed
- Reduced pain
- Decreased cortisol levels
- Improved mood
It’s been reported that people who listen to binaural beats at least 30 minutes a day continue to feel the benefits of them even when they are not listening. They can easily cycle through the brain waves they need with more success than they could before listening to binaural beats.
How to properly listen to binaural beats
Since the auditory illusion that is binaural beats rely on hearing two different frequencies in each ear, they are best experienced with headphones. Without headphones, your brain isn’t able to create the illusion.
When deciding which brain waves you would like to encourage, decide what you would like to accomplish. If you are relaxing or meditating before bed, theta wave binaural beats would be best. They would help unwind your mind and prepare your brain to produce delta waves.
If you’re working on a paper (or writing an article), gamma wave binaural beats are great for concentration and sticking to a task to get it done.
A quick search online for whichever binaural beat you’re looking for should lead you there. 
All beats are not made the same and the results do vary from person to person. Listen to a few different frequencies and see which ones resonate with you the most. Some binaural beats available online will be pure, meaning the audio only contains the frequencies, others might have background music.
Be aware that some background music can change how you perceive the binaural beat. If you feel as though the music is distracting, try listening to a pure frequency instead.
Also, experiment with how long you listen to the binaural beats. You might find that for certain frequencies, you don’t need to listen as long to engage the targeted brain waves. Other times, you might feel you need to listen longer. Find what works for you.
Is listening to binaural beats safe?
There is still research being done on the effects of binaural beats, but as of now, all research points to them being completely safe. Just make sure you are listening to them at a safe volume through your headphones.
Binaural beats are an auditory illusion that occurs when you are listening to two different frequencies in each ear, yet your brain turns it into one frequency. The brain waves that cycle in your brain throughout the day can be measured in frequencies.
There are five brainwaves and they are gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta. When your brain is producing gamma brain waves, you are at peak performance. As your brain moves down through the brain wave cycle, it ends with delta, which is the slowest, and when you are in deep sleep.
Using binaural beats, you can naturally sync your brain waves with the frequency you need on command.
The ability to do this allows you to communicate with your brain in the language it understands. You can encourage the brain waves that help you focus, create, solve problems, rest, and relax.
Binaural beats are a safe way to cope with stress and anxiety and get work done when you’re feeling unproductive.
There are many benefits to listening to binaural beats. Reduction in stress, better sleep, and an increased ability to focus are just a few of those benefits. If you start a daily habit of listening to binaural beats for 30 minutes a day, you could see an overall improvement in your mood and mental capabilities, even when you aren’t listening.
To listen to binaural beats, all you need is a beat and a good pair of headphones. Many people report that they immediately get feelings of positivity and relaxation as soon as they listen. We hope that your experience with binaural beats is positive as well.
A graphic of a head with headphones on is what comes to mind – music notes on each side of the headphones – on the left label the music notes 432hz and right side notes labeled 438hz – picture of brain in the head with music notes labeled 6 hz
I wasn’t sure which website this was going on. If you want me to link to the trainings rather than a generic search let me know.