What Are Binaural Beats and How Do They Work? Use them effectively for meditation, AD (H) D, and sleep problems

What are binaural beats brainwaves

You may have heard of binaural beats. They are often associated with relaxation, meditation, and spirituality. And that’s right because, with the proper application, you can achieve significant benefits and achieve your goals.

What are binaural beats?

Binaural beats are an auditory illusion where two tones of different frequencies are heard in each ear. Due to the frequency difference, the brain perceives a third tone, the binaural beat. This binaural beat has the frequency of the difference between the other two tones.

For example, if you hear a 530Hz tone in the right ear and a 540Hz one in the left ear, the binaural beat has a 10Hz frequency. The brain tends to follow and synchronize with the binaural beat. For the right effect, it is essential to use headphones so that both ears perceive a different signal.

These notes were discovered in 1839 by the Prussian scientist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. With his discovery, he concluded that the tones were the first forms of so-called “brain seduction.”

Brain seduction (Frequency Following Response)

The term brain seduction comes from the fact that when the frequency difference changes, the brain unconsciously follows the “third” signal and creates a corresponding brain wave pattern. This is called the Frequency Following Response. This means that binaural beats (bi-n-aural = two hearing) can help calm an overactive brain or provide more beta waves when there is a need for more concentration.

In this article, I will list all the essential facts about this audio technology for you. It turns out that this science-based technology can be used surprisingly effectively for ADHD, sleep problems, and pain relief, but can also be used for spiritual experiences, such as meditation, deep relaxation, and vivid dreams.

However, it is important to work with good equipment and sound fragments made by specialists because incorrect use can lead to the opposite effect.

How can you make these frequencies work for you?

The brain state affects everything. From your mood to your ability to concentrate to the effectiveness with which you perform tasks. The influence of the binaural beats on your brain depends on the frequency difference between the two patterns. What exactly happens to your brain when you use binaural beats depends on the sound wave frequency in relation to the brain’s dominant brain wave patterns.

In someone with ADHD, the brain is more in a theta state than in someone without ADHD. The brainwave pattern is theta-dominant. This brainwave pattern is associated with increased creativity, learning ability, and strong intuition. On the other hand, it has drawbacks that are well known to us from the classroom.

By playing the beats in a beta frequency through headphones, the brainwaves can be “seduced” to a higher frequency, thereby increasing the ability to concentrate.

This is not a matter of listening to an audio clip once but requires training. The more often the brain is trained to accept this frequency, the more powerful the effect becomes. It’s a matter of conditioning.

Types of binaural beats

In recent decades, the development of binaural beats has really taken off. Numerous devices and sound clips nowadays enable “laymen” to experience deep meditative states. They allow people to apply self-hypnosis and help children with AD (H) D and autism perform better at school.

Some programs are designed to provide deep sleep levels or meditation. Others are designed to reduce stress and anxiety.

Isochronous tones

Now that you understand the fundamental nature of binaural beats, it is essential not to confuse them with isochronous tones. They differ fundamentally from each other but can complement each other very well.

Isochronic tones are regular beats but of only a single frequency that can be used in addition to binaural beats in affecting brainwaves. At its simplest level, an isochronous tone is a tone that turns on and off quickly. So they are sharp, distinctive sound pulses. (beep-0-beep-0-beep)

Isochronous tones and binaural beats

In 1981, the scientist Arturo Manns published a study showing the effectiveness of isochronous tones. This was later confirmed by others, including David Siever, who started Mind Alive. Mind Alive is a company that develops brain machines and programs for Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE).

Back to binaural beats

The beats can have a positive influence on how your brain functions if used correctly, of course! The brain is filled with neurons that process information and communicate through a network. When these neurons are active, they produce a very small amount of electricity. These electrical signals are picked up during an EEG, in which you get a cap with electrodes on your head.

The brain constantly produces frequencies – brainwaves – and these are closely related to how we feel. When a brainwave frequency is low, such as with theta or delta, we feel calm, relaxed, calm, and sleepy. When we are focused, alert, and active, our brains’ frequencies are significantly higher in beta/gamma mode.

Binaural beats can be used when it suits you. By simply using headphones, you can use them on the bus, during the study, in the evening in bed before going to sleep, or when you want to meditate.

Binaural beats in ADHD and ADD

Binaural beats also have many potential benefits in treating ADHD and ADD, including improved concentration and more peace of mind. However, it makes sense that not much scientific research is being done in a way that doesn’t bring in any money. That is also the reason why large-scale scientific research is lagging behind.

The practice has now shown that many ADHD “patients” indicate that they benefit from binaural beats. A very small-scale 2010 pilot study of 20 children with ADHD yielded some promising results. The study looked at whether listening to binaural beats a few times a week could reduce attentional complaints compared to audio without binaural beats.

Although the results of this study of binaural beats in ADHD and ADD did not show significant results, participants in both groups reported that they did notice benefits during the three weeks of the study.

Regardless of the scientific basis, it is, of course, always worth a try to see if listening to binaural beats can mean something for yourself. On Youtube, you can find countless videos that influence brainwaves and can reduce concentration and attention problems.

brainwaves frequencies alpha beta delta

Experiences with binaural beats

Many people say after their first experience with binaural sounds that it “drives them crazy.” “You can’t relax from that, can you?” Although it often sounds uncomfortable at first, you will notice that the longer you listen and the frequency changes, your brain automatically settles down due to the brain temptation.

Some people don’t like the different tones, which means that many binaural sounds are recorded with pleasant background music. This synergy ensures that an audio fragment is more pleasant to listen to and can be even more relaxing.

My first personal experience with binaural beats goes back to 2003 when I bought a brain-machine from Mind Alive. It was a spartan model for Audio-visual Entrainment, but with all the trimmings. My ADHD complaints at the time were reasonably maintainable with consistent daily use.

Meditation and Spirituality

As mentioned earlier, binaural beats are frequently used in spiritual practice. For example, you can use beats for meditation, spiritual experiences, or the Law of Attraction.

I regularly use binaural beats to fall asleep when meditating or when I cannot concentrate properly.

Correct use

Use this simple guide to work with binaural beats safely and most effectively.

First, determine your goal. Do you want to relax? Concentrate better? Or achieve a deep state of meditation? A creative visualization?

Choose a time and location where you cannot be disturbed for 30-45 minutes, depending on the audio clip’s length.

During the session, close your eyes to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Listen to the binaural beats with headphones or earbuds (pay close attention to the left and right) for about half an hour. Your brain needs about 7-8 minutes to properly sync with the audio track.

Repeat the sessions regularly to develop a pattern. More is not always better, so you don’t have to sit with headphones on your head 24/7.

Possible benefits of binaural beats

Many people who have used binaural beats for a period of a month cite benefits such as:

  • Improvement and deepening of sleep
  • More relaxation during the day
  • Vivid dreams
  • Reduction of feelings of anxiety and stress
  • In a deeply meditative state within 15-30 minutes
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Greater creativity
  • Better sports performance
  • Improved mood

The most significant advantage of using binaural beats is that you can “evoke” a brainwave pattern in 15-30 minutes, while otherwise, it can take much longer. This will give you the tools that allow you to have highly advanced skills, while others will need years of training to do so.

You can compare it to monks who practice for years to get into a deep meditative state. You can achieve the same with your binaural beats in half an hour, untrained.

It’s all about triggering the correct brainwave frequencies in your brain and maintaining them for some time and thus training.

Is the effect of binaural beats scientifically proven?

Since the above description can all seem very nice and too simple to be true, it is a fair question whether it doesn’t seem a bit too good. Is the effect scientifically endorsed? Is this theory well-founded?

The good news is that the science that researches brain waves is getting better and better. The Monroe Institute in the US has been doing successful research for decades, and they have developed programs that are increasingly used in psychiatry as well as surgical procedures for pain management.

The list of scientific publications is growing steadily.1,2,3

However, modern Western medicine has not yet embraced its application globally, as this technology obviously does not benefit the pharmaceutical industry.

Are binaural beats dangerous?

No, using binaural beats is not dangerous. This technology is entirely safe to use if used correctly. One point of attention is that you use the benefits of binaural beats carefully and thoughtfully.

Dangerous situations are when you drive a vehicle or use machines. You have to realize that the beats influence your brainwave patterns also your concentration (beta). Never use this technology behind the wheel or if you have to operate machines immediately afterward.

Even after you have completed a session, it can take at least another 1-2 hours (depending on the intensity and duration of the session) before your brainwaves are back in a normal state. The advice is to relax the brain before going to sleep or during meditation and not to schedule activities that require concentration afterward.

Of course, I hear you think, “but if I listen to a beta program in the morning, I can still drive because then I am concentrated, right?” In theory, that is true, but it is still essential to put safety first. For that reason, schedule at least an hour after a binaural beats session before you start driving.

It is also better not to listen to the beats and isochronous tones if you can be disturbed because it can cause a lot of confusion. Whenever I use my brain-machine, I turn off the ringer and silence my phone. When you are bothered by, for example, the doorbell while you are in a wonderfully meditative state and suddenly have to be alert, it can cause a very unpleasant and confused feeling.

Making your own binaural beats

Of course, there are endless videos on Youtube with beats, some only with the beats, others with wonderfully soothing music. You can also make your own binaural beats. You can do this by using well-known music programs, such as Audacity or Ableton Live. Of course, there are costly (500 euro and more expensive) and professional programs available, but the basic versions are also sufficient for this purpose.

Fortunately, there are online manuals available that explain how to make your own binaural beats step by step with these programs. I can recommend these manuals:

Make your own binaural beats in Audicity

Make your own binaural beats in Ableton Live

There are also online binaural beat generators, or you can install an app on your phone:

Online binaural beat generator

Binaural beat generator as app for Android

Binaural beat generator als app voor Apple
making binaural beat


Binaural beats can be a valuable addition to achieving goals in many different areas. Whether it’s work, relationships, sports goals, or wealth, a combination of visualization and the proper brainwave patterns – connecting directly to the subconscious – always adds to more positivity in your life.

You can choose to listen to concentration programs for AD(H)D, listen to theta programs for meditation or hypnosis, or delta waves for deep sleep. Each sound clip literally contributes to the right mindset, the right state of the brain to manifest your goals.

Search Youtube for binaural, and you will come across a laundry list of sound clips, some with pleasant, soothing music, others only with beats. Experience what feels most comfortable for you.

Short questions about binaural beats

Do binaural beats actually work?

Yes, they do work! The beats in the delta frequencies (0.5 to 4 Hz) are linked to deep sleep. The theta beats (4 to 8 Hz) have been linked to deep relaxation, increased creativity, and increased suggestibility. The alpha frequencies (8 to 13 Hz) encourage relaxation, promote positivity, and decrease anxiety. Beats in the lower beta frequencies (14 to 30 Hz) have been linked to increased concentration and alertness, problem-solving, and improved memory. Gamma frequencies increase mental flexibility and concentration.

What do binaural beats do to the brain?

Research suggests that binaural beats can help improve working memory and long-term memory and strengthen neuron connections within the brain. The more you practice, the stronger the connections (neurons that fire together, wire together). Attention may also be improved by using binaural beats.

Are the beats harmful?

Binaural beats are safe to enjoy. However, some people shouldn’t listen to them. People who suffer from seizures should avoid listening because it can increase the probability of having a seizure due to brain wave change.

Do binaural beats increase focus

Yes, binaural beats help to increase concentration. Binaural beats in the gamma frequency tend to show promise in helping with increased cognitive flexibility, attention to detail, focus, and divergent thinking, which is a marker of creativity.

Is it necessary to listen to binaural beats with headphones or earphones?

To listen to the beats, a person will need a pair of stereo headphones or earphones. The left and the right ear both receive different signals from the sound source. Make sure that you put the right side on the right ear.

Frequently asked questions

How do I listen to binaural beats correctly?

To listen to binaural beats correctly and maximize their effectiveness, follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable environment: Choose a quiet space to relax without distractions. Background noise can interfere with the binaural beats’ effectiveness, so minimize any external sounds.
  2. Use headphones: Binaural beats work by playing different frequencies in each ear, so it’s crucial to use stereo headphones. Over-ear or noise-canceling headphones are recommended for better sound isolation.
  3. Choose the right frequency: Binaural beats are associated with different frequency ranges, each believed to produce specific effects. For example, lower frequencies (e.g., 1-4 Hz) are associated with deep relaxation or sleep, while higher frequencies (e.g., 12-30 Hz) are linked to focus and concentration. Determine your desired outcome and select the appropriate frequency range accordingly.
  4. Settle into a relaxed position: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You can close your eyes if it helps you relax and focus better.
  5. Start at a moderate volume: Begin by setting the volume to a low or moderate level. Adjust it to a comfortable level that lets you hear the binaural beats without being too loud or overpowering.
  6. Relax and allow your mind to wander: Binaural beats are most effective when you let your mind enter a relaxed and open state. Try not to actively focus on the beats or any specific thoughts. Instead, let your mind wander and observe any sensations or experiences that arise.
  7. Give it time: Binaural beats may take some time to affect your brainwaves. Listening for at least 15-30 minutes is recommended to allow your brain to synchronize with the beats and enter the desired state.
  8. Be consistent: Consistency is vital when using binaural beats. Regularly incorporate them into your daily routine or a few times a week to potentially experience more significant benefits over time.


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