April 17, 2021

Stress Reduction – Binaural Beats

If you suffer from anxiety or are susceptible to becoming stressed on a regular basis, have found little effective medical advice or have even tried alternative methods such as herbal teas or plant extracts, then I recommend giving binaural beats a go.

Why Binaural Beats?

Binaural beats is another alternative remedy, yes, but since our perception of sound is linked to cognitive processes, it could be a perfect candidate to directly address anxiety, another cognitive process. Such physical sensations, caused by exploiting such natural human perception phenomenon, have been used in the past for psychological conditioning; however, the end result of listening to these tones is entirely dependent on how you personally perceive them. All you need to do is sit down and listen to these tracks through headphones, perhaps over a soothing cup of tea or wine or even while you are doing something else.

 

When the brain is presented with two slightly different tonal changes in a stereo situation, a brain response occurs. This response is called a binaural beat. Binaural beats are derived from the phenomenon of binaural hearing in which the human auditory system (composed of the brain, inner ear and outer ear) can pin point the direction of a sound source. It is a series of tones that, when wearing head phones, appear to be moving around your head. The beats result from two different auditory sounds, heard from opposite ears.

The signals of two different frequencies (sounds) are presented to each ear and the binaural beat is perceived as a fluctuating rhythm at the frequency of the difference between the two auditory inputs. Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered the effect in 1839 and in more recent years it has gained more public awareness due to research done, showing that binaural beats aid in relaxation, reducing stress, mediation, falling asleep, and even creativity. Binaural beats are stimuli for creating the mental impression of motion. Classically, the beat consists of a pure tone at one ear (e.g., 500 Hz) and the same pure tone at the other ear but shifted upward or upward in frequency (e.g., 501 Hz).

When Do You See Results?

Various published psychology journals have indicated that binaural beats, upon clinical trials, have a significant effect on reducing anxiety and stress in patients over a 60 day period. A study result showed “There was significant decrease in trait anxiety, an increase in quality of life, and a decrease in insulin-like growth factor-1 and dopamine and has been successfully shown to decrease mild anxiety.” Furthermore, there are claims indicating that binaural beats may have uses in other fields of medicine to help memorize and learn material, stop smoking, improve dieting, tackle erectile dysfunction and improve athletic performance. Although scientific research into binaural beats is very limited and no conclusive studies have been released to support the wilder claims listed above, it does not discount the positive results binaural beats have had on the many listeners.

I can personally vouch for these tones, and although it doesn’t affect everyone, specifically those who are tone deaf or have hearing loss, it has been successful in reducing my stress levels through university exams and life changing challenges. Binaural beats is an alternative method to reduce stress, and for anyone tired of taking prescribed antidepressants to no effect, perhaps they are worth a listen.

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