If you are wondering what the hell a “binaural beat” is, you are not alone. It’s a phenomenon of human anatomy, such as where our ears are and the way we process sound, that makes binaural beats actual things. Yeah, I know, I answered that question a bit early in the guide, right? Actually I did not. I didn’t state if it was a useful real thing. That part is yet unanswered. Curious? I hoped you’d be.
First let me ask a different question. Is hypnosis a useful real thing? I know for absolute sure that trances are actual. We go into and from these all the time. But does this make them the door to altering deep-seated beliefs and behaviours in people. The scientist who lives in my mind says there’s some dearth of evidence on this last point. So it’s with binaural beats. They’re mathematically real, but do they really DO anything for us?
When our ears is presented with a sine wave of a specific frequency, and the other ear is presented with a sine wave of a different frequency, our brains make it feel as though we are hearing a rhythmic thrumming or beating. We can control the source sound frequencies to accelerate or slow down those beats in our minds. That part is and scientifically real. What might not be quite as real is the impact these beats have on our disposition, minds, behaviour, etc..
Neuroscience has lots of information to support the association between brainwave frequencies and disposition. For instance, alpha waves (8-14 Hz) happen in the brain when a man is relaxed but alert. If a man or woman has been focused and alert, beta waves (14-30 Hz) happen. There are associations with different frequencies but this should provide you the idea.
The idea behind the best way to make this information useful is that it can be possible to “entrain” these brainwave frequencies at someone by having them listen to tones in cans. If, say the proponents, listening to rhythmic hums beating at 10 Hz can lead to alpha waves in the brain, then we could create the relaxed feelings related to alpha waves. We’ve got proof of this first direction (if a man is relaxed, alpha waves often happen ), but if it works in reverse (we could make alpha waves occur which will then bring about relaxation) is another issue.
There are companies selling mp3s and CDs with music and sound effects combined with binaural beats to create a particular effect, or combination of effects. For instance, there are programs for smoking cessation, stress reduction, memory improvement, meditation, losing weight, recovery, etc.. Wow. It really would be wonderful to think that all you’ve got to do is listen to your music and you might quit smoking would not it? So what’s the science behind this?
Actually there’s some science to support a proof-of-concept which brainwaves could be entrained as explained previously, which measurable changes in behaviour can occur as a correlation in blind experiments. So that’s a fantastic thing. I enjoy actual evidence. It’s logical to then assume that if binaural beats may entrain brainwaves of predictable frequency followed by predictable frame of mind, behaviors connected with the specific states of mind are likely.
However, there is less evidence that binaural beats can cause you to lose weight or stop smoking. There’s anecdotal evidence for this, as there is with hypnosis doing exactly the identical thing, but let’s not overlook the power of the placebo effect. If a person knows they have bought the weight loss program CD, they’re likely to be motivated. And anticipation effects could see them losing weight. Results that rely on that effect aren’t normally repeatable or consistent. Some of us are better at changing their behaviour than others, I imagine.
So I believe I have proven that binaural beats aren’t mythical. They’re definitely real. And there’s some very convincing and real scientific evidence to support the potential for brainwave entrainment to affect mood and state-of-mind. Whether these other things are possible remains to be researched. Your mileage may vary. I’d really like to find a double-blind experiment lead to better memory in the long run, or weight-loss. Then I’ll go”all-in” with binaural beats as a helpful therapy tool. Until then, at least I know my iPod can play me some alpha waves and I’ll probably relax. That’s pretty cool by itself.