Binaural Beats Beginnings

A brief outline of binaural beats

If you have never heard of binaural beats you may be suprised at what they are and even more suprised (perhaps even shocked) at exactly what they are capable of doing for you as regards making major life-changes!

Binaural beats are a new way of using auditory tones to create a beat effect which arises in the brain independent of outside physical stimuli, i.e. the beats themselves do not really exist on their own but are a sort of mental illusion created by the brain due to the way it processes the sounds it is hearing!

This “mental illusion” of hearing pulsations (or beats) was first found to occur in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove at the Berlin University.

He discovered that the brain produces a phenomenon leading the listener to hear low frequency beats when two tones of slightly different frequencies are presented separately. One tone to the left ear and one tone to the right in a stereo type effect.

A pulsing or beating tone will be heard. This happens because the two tones are almost identical but differ slightly in frequency. The brain naturally tries to combine the two tones (as it does normally throughout the day when your left ear hears the sma esound as the right only at a differnt volume depending on how you are facing the orgin of the noise)to give a proper representation of the auditory sound. Your eyes do the same thing when you view objects. the left eye has a slightly different angle to the right but the brain merges the image together so that you only see one image!

However, when the brain merges the two tones an unusual thing happens. Instead of hearing a uniform “one tone” the brain adjusts the “one tone” that you hear (as the two tones are merged) and creates beats that have a frequency that is the difference between the two tones.

The frequency of the tones must be below about one thousand to 1,500 hertz for the pulsing to be heard. The difference between the 2 frequencies must be below about thirty Hertz for the effect to happen – otherwise, the 2 tones will be heard separately and no binaural beats will be perceived.

Binaural beats are relevant to neurophysiologists looking into the subject of hearing. Binaural beats reportedly influence the brain in more subtle ways through the entrainment of brainwaves. They can be used to produce relaxation and other health benefits such as pain relief.

Whilst research continued after Heinrich Wilhelm Dove’s discovery, the topic stayed more of a systematic curiosity until 1974, with the publishing of Gerald Oster’s article “Auditory Beats in the Brain” in Scientific American.

Oster’s article identified and assembled the scattered research data that was applicable to binaural beats Dove’s experiments and then offered amazingly fresh discernment along with new lab findings.

In particular, Oster saw binaural beats as a robust tool for cognitive and neurological research. He addressed questions like how animals find sounds in their three-dimensional environment, and also the extraordinary capability of animals to select and target categorical sounds in an ocean of noise – what is thought of as the “cocktail party effect” (when you hear your name being mentioned across the room even when the scene is awash with many conversations and background noise.

Oster also considered binaural beats to be a possibly helpful medical diagnostic tool, not only for finding and considering auditory impairments, but also for more general neurological conditions.

Binaural beats involve different neurological pathways than normal auditory processing. For instance, Oster revealed that a number of his subjects that might not hear binaural beats suffered from Parkinson’s illness.

In one actual case, Oster was in a position to follow the topic through a week long treatment of Parkinson’s illness. At the outset the patients could not hear the binaural beats but by the end of the week of treatment, the patients were in a position to hear them easily.

In corroborating an earlier study, Oster also reported sex variations in the perception of beats with differences between men and women.

There are now many manufacturers of binaural betas recordings that offer titles with a wide variety of applications. You can now use this auditory technology to create deep states of relaxation, better sleep and even illicit more creative ideas from the brain.

If you are interested in trying this technology for yourself (and I strongly advise it) just visit the link above to read a review of several different binaural beats titles.
You may also be interested in visiting Holosync which offers a review of the self improvement binaural beats program by Centerpointe which is designed to craete Zen-like meditations and improve your life in all areas.

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