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Friday, October 9, 2009

What are Binaural Beats?

Posted by patrick

By Carrie Spry

If you were to introduce two tones of different frequency into each ear, you could create binaural beats. For example, playing a tone with a frequency of 100Hz in one ear and playing a tone with a frequency of 114Hz in the other ear, will force the brain to determine the phase difference between the two wavelengths of each tone. We naturally do this to determine directional information.

As these two tones integrate in our brains, we call it a binaural beat. The resultant beat that we perceive would be 14Hz using this example. If the beat were lower, like say 4Hz, it would sound more like a wave. If the beat were higher like 20Hz, it would sound like a beat.

Stereo headphones must be used in order to make use of this technology. If you were to use speakers, the tones would mix in the air and not give you the desired effect. It can produce a monoraul beat, which can be used for brain wave entrainment (bwe). However, if the track was created for binaural beats, it should be used as such.

When first listening to these binaurals, you may initially hear a warbling sound until your brain adjusts. If you have a hearing loss in one ear, it does not reduce the effect of binaural beats. It's not how loud they are, in fact you could actually used them just below what we can naturally hear, and they would still be effective. Commonly, binaurals are masked with noise or music of some kind.

Using binaural beats for bwe has been the topic of some debates. Binaural beats can be used to product beats from 0.235Hz to 26.25Hz. Above this frequency, the wavelength are longer than the distance of the skull. However, Dr. Gerald Oster concluded that these beats would be insufficient for bwe because the depth of the beat is only about 1/10 the volume of a whisper.

The Monroe Institute (Hemi-Sync products), I-Doser, and Centerpointe (Holosync products) all use binaural beats for their personal growth and development products. The beats are often mixed with noise, music, ambiance or guided instructions. The advantage the binaural beat has over most other methods is its ability to entrain the brain to frequencies less than 4Hz.

There are other technologies which are more efficient like low-pass filter modulation, cross-feed modulation, isochronic tones, monaural beats, pitch modulation and auto-pan modulation. Every type has it's own limitations. Our products use a combination of these methods to achieve the best possible results.

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