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Binaural Beats: Listeners Experience Mood Changes Through Sound Waves

Destiny Richards, Staff Writer
May 2, 2012
Filed under Opinion

Very few people know that there is a supposed safe way to alter your brain waves to experience different moods. Whether it’s improving study focus or trying to induce lucid dreaming, binaural beats are the way to do it.      Binaural beats are sounds that are processed in the brain for specific physical stimuli. The effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. It gained public awareness in the late 20th century when the beats were claimed to help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desired mental states. Headphones or earphones are required as the brainwave effect depends on the different frequencies simultaneously played in each ear.

Basically, similar yet slightly off frequencies are played in each ear and since the brain isn’t used to hearing them together, it creates its own frequency and over a period time the false frequency stimulates a desired mental state. Binaural beats are supposed to help with anxiety, stress, insomnia, pain and have other health benefits.

 Most people wonder if the beats are bad, since they are sometimes referred to as ‘digital drugs’. The answer to that is no. The worst one can get is a headache and when the brain gets used to the sounds after they are used for a while, there shouldn’t be any sort of problem. However, it’s important not to use them at all if one is prone to seizures. It’s also strongly recommended not to listen to them while driving or doing anything that requires controlled brain activity.

  The best time to listen to them is in a quiet room with no outside distraction. Just with closed eyes and an open mind; really concentrate on the frequency. In my personal experience, it took roughly 15-20 minutes of nonstop, uninterrupted listening before I felt the effects. The only ones that have successfully worked for me were the ones for stress relief and sleep induction. But with others I’ve tried, I have never really been sure. More often than not, I’ve had to ask myself if the beats are really even working at all or if it’s all in my head.

   Binaural beats are definitely real scientifically, that much has been proven over the years, but do they really do anything for us? A lot of websites talk about all these wonderful things they can do that relate to meditation and melding the conscious and subconscious mind. Mostly new age stuff. But how can we know it’s true? I can’t say I’ve experienced anything like that, but you won’t know until you try. Even if it seems like it’s all in my head, I can still say that I felt relaxed at that moment I listened to them. And who knows, maybe that means it does work.    Either way, it’s worth it to try something new. The beats can be listened to through free phone apps, YouTube, and mp3 clips on websites that provide information about them. The constant pulsing sound waves can get annoying after a while but it’s fun to anticipate the mood changes.  For first time binaural beat listeners, it’s best to read as much about them as possible and get educated on the worldwide phenomenon. It can give those interested a thirst to try it out and test the theory for themselves.