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What are Binaural Beats?

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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2016
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Binaural beats occurs when a person listens to a sound in one ear and a similar but slightly different sound in the other. The resulting dissonance produces a sound in the brain that is not really there. The imaginary sounds are called binaural beats. Many people claim that these beats can induce states like relaxation and concentration. Other people believe that these states are the results of the power of suggestion, not a binaural beat.

The human brain produces different brainwaves depending on the activity it is undergoing. For instance, the brain produces waves between about 1-3 Hz when a person is sleeping. Similarly, brainwaves between 8-13 Hz occur when a person is daydreaming or fantasizing. It is thought that listening to binaural beats causes the brain to mimic these frequencies and induce the corresponding state whenever a person desires it. So if a person wants to meditate, he can listen to a binaural beat in the desired range in order to help him get into the meditative state.

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While the brain may produce brainwaves with low frequencies, a person is not able to hear frequencies below about 20 Hz. This is why binaural beats are created by listening to two different sounds. If a 100 Hz sound is heard in one ear and a 108 Hz sound is heard in the other, the brain may hear an 8 Hz sound even though it is not there. The resulting binaural beat can then induce different states of mind. It is thought that these beats can be used to induce focus, creativity, and help a person meditate whenever he likes.

While it seems clear that a person can experience different states by listening to binaural beats, skeptics do not think it works the way many think it does. Rather than credit the brain mimicking the binaural beat, some believe that it is the power of suggestive thinking that gives people the desired result. They believe that if you had different people listen to the same beat without telling them what it is supposed to do, they would have varied results.

It is said that listening to binaural beats is safe for many people. For some, however, it can be dangerous. For example, those who have certain mental illness and those who have had a brain injury should not listen. It is also recommended that pregnant women and those who have heart issues or pacemakers avoid these beats. A person should also not listen to the beats while they are driving, operate heavy machinery, or engaging in other potentially dangerous activities. Before trying out any form of binaural beats, it may be wise to contact a doctor to ensure it is safe and effective tool for that individual.

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anon345089
Post 2

The mother's heart (an adult) beats at different rhythms than a fetal heart and binaural beats more than likely won't sync up with either. This could cause a lot of unnecessary problems. I'm a musician, not a doctor, and this is my gut reaction.

anon259172
Post 1

I read that binaural beats are not recommended for pregnant women, and my question is why? What would it cause?

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