Mind 10 min read

What Are Binaural Beats And How They Work?

by Mindvalley January 9, 2019

Ready to learn how to biohack your brain waves for more efficient thinking, better memory, and increased retention? The secret lies in binaural beats.

These simple tones can naturally shift the way your brain processes information. And they can be used for a variety of purposes, from increased productivity to better, more restful sleep.

Here’s what binaural beats are and how they work.

What Are Binaural Beats?


Binaural beats are a tone created in the brain when it’s presented with two different frequencies at the same time.

The state of your brain directly affects how well you perform activities and process information. If you want to achieve a meditative state, get a better night’s sleep, activate your body’s natural healing processes, or become more focused and productive, you simply need to change the state of your brain.

Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty easy to safely alter how your brain is functioning. Without taking any medication or drug, you can naturally shift the speed and intensity of your thoughts by listening to specified tones that induce different brainwave states

Once you learn how the brain works and how binaural beats affect the brain, you’ll see that it’s a natural and easy process.

How does the brain work?

Your brain is a powerhouse of activity. It helps to think of your brain like the internet —all across the world, people (similar to your neurons) communicate with each other at nearly instantaneous speeds.

Neurons are tiny little cells in your brain that get excited, light up, and fire off information. The neurons in your brain talk to each other over a complicated network. Unlike internet networks that can get congested when there’s too much traffic, your brain’s network is a beautiful and harmonious symphony of exchanged information.

When those neurons fire off, they release small amounts of electricity, which we can measure using an EEG. And what scientists discovered a long time ago was that your brain produces frequencies that we call brainwaves.

The higher the brainwave frequency, the more alert, awake and reactive you feel. Lower brainwaves represent stages of rest and sleep.

What are binaural beats brain

How you feel during different brain wave states

To achieve a desired state of mind, you simply need to get your brain to imagine that it hears the frequency associated with the state you want to be in. Of course, to do this, you need to know your brain frequencies and how they make you feel:

38hz-42hz – Gamma

Spiritual awakening, universal love, harmony.
Gamma brainwaves are actually a bit of a mystery. They’re the highest frequency you can achieve, but scientists are a little dumbfounded by them.

Unlike Alpha and Beta, Gamma brainwaves don’t’ really translate to feeling active and alert. Rather, what’s been discovered is that in Gamma, neurons are firing so harmoniously that people often feel like they have a spiritual experience.

This brainwave state has been associated with expanding consciousness and understanding the value of universal love and harmony.

12hz-38hz – Beta

Reaction, engagement, sensory experiences.
These brainwaves take a lot of energy to produce, and you’ll feel really productive and focused when you’re in this state.

Your brain in Beta is actively engaged, aware, and reactive. This is a great state for short-term problem solving or being engaged in exciting activities. But it’s not a great state for long-term decision making or really thinking through your actions.

8hz-12hz – Alpha

Present, focused, aware.
If you’re operating in Alpha mode, you’ll feel very present and in the moment. You might be somewhat reactive to the world around you, but you’ll feel like you have time to process what’s going on rather than just react on instinct. This is a wonderful state to achieve when meditating or doing something that requires coordination, focus and learning.

3hz – 8hz – Theta

Dreamy, otherworldly, surreal.
You may have experienced Theta right before drifting off to sleep, during a lucid dream, or during a deep meditation.

In Theta, you no longer sense the outside world, but you are aware and conscious of your internal world.

All of your subconscious fears, hopes and judgments are hidden in the Theta state. Theta is a difficult state to achieve because you often drift out of it very quickly either becoming conscious in Alpha or moving on to the deeper state of Delta.

By staying in Theta, you can learn endless information about yourself and your consciousness.

5hz – 3hz – Delta

Asleep, regenerative, healing.
You won’t recall ever being in this state, but it’s an incredibly important brainwave for your health.

In this state, you will be deeply asleep, but not actively dreaming. Your body needs this state to heal and regenerate.

On a daily basis, you’ll need to achieve this state when you sleep at night to make sure your body can heal itself. When you’re feeling really sick, or your body and mind are working hard, you’ll want to stay in this state a little longer.

What are binaural beats regenerative

How To Use Binaural Beats


If you want to achieve certain states of consciousness, you can use free binaural beats to safely move your brain into certain frequencies. A great way to get started with binaural beats is to use an app. Since you’ll have to use headphones to achieve the effect of binaural beats frequencies, a smartphone or tablet is a great way to get started.

Binaural Beats by Adlai Holler

This simple app doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles, but by being just a one-screen app, it doesn’t drain your battery or interfere with other apps you might be running. The interface is straightforward and lets you input exactly what binaural beats frequency you want to achieve. This is a great app if you know exactly what you want and you don’t want anything to get in the way of that.

Brainwave Tuner by PPL Development Company LLC

This app offers an easy to use interface that helps you achieve certain states of mind for different activities. From headache treatment to IQ boost to Sleep Induction and Relaxation, this app offers frequencies for over 25 scenarios. If you’re looking for an app that will let you choose a state of mind or activity and then just hit play, this app is great to use.

Brainwaves by iMobLife Inc

This extremely popular app features over 90 tones and music to help you achieve your desired state of mind. While other apps focus on sleep, memory and meditation, this app also includes programs for increasing psychic abilities, contacting spirit guides, and enhancing yoga. This subscription-based application is right for you if you’re looking for an experience specifically designed for your health, spiritual and emotional desires.

Are binaural beats safe to use?

As we’ve explained, binaural beats are just audio frequencies that activate brain waves. So, yes, binaural beats are safe. For most people.

But, if you find yourself to be a part of any of the following categories, talk to your doctor before using binaural beats:

  1. Those prone to seizures – the change in brainwaves can activate them.
  2. People with heart problems – again, heart rhythm can be determined by the brain waves.
  3. Those who suffer from mental disorders.
  4. Children.
  5. Pregnant women.
  6. People who are driving and operating heavy machinery.

Do binaural beats actually work?

In 1837, a physicist named Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered that listening to certain tones of sound could actually induce certain states of mind. If you listen to a tone of 410hz in your left ear and 400hz in your right ear, your brain will make up the difference and hear an imaginary tone of 10hz. This tone is the binaural beat.

When your brain makes up that imaginary beat, your brainwave syncs up to that specific frequency. In other words, if you listen to 410hz in one ear and 400hz in the other, your brain will start to resonate with the 10hz binaural beat. Your brainwaves will be at a frequency of 10hz.

Binaural beats research has shown that you can change how you feel simply by listening to binaural beats frequencies. If you want to feel active and alert, you can listen to tones that have a bigger difference in frequency. If you want to feel calmer or fall asleep, you can listen to tones that are closer together.

Can binaural beats damage your brain?

Binaural beats cause momentary change to the brain waves. Therefore, they do not damage your brain and are quite safe to use. They simply help encourage your brain to attain a brainwave state it’s fully capable of attaining all on its own.

What are binaural beats good for?

Binaural beats can be a great addition to your daily activities. For example:

  1. Meditation
  2. Sleeping
  3. Studying

They also help:

  1. Reduce anxiety
  2. Lower stress
  3. Increase relaxation
  4. Increase focus
  5. Promote creativity

So, if you want to try binaural beats and promote any of the above states, we encourage you to give them a try!

Have you ever used binaural beats before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.


You’ve Probably Got Meditation All Wrong.

A lot of people don’t do it, because they just can’t seem to ‘clear their minds’.

They try to empty their thoughts, and when that doesn’t work, they think they suck at meditation and give up.

But you see, the mind is designed to think. It does so automatically, just like how your heart beats.

The truth is, meditation isn’t about clearing your mind. It’s supposed to improve performance in all other aspects of your life.

If You’d Like To Discover What Meditation REALLY Is And How It Can Completely Transform Your Life And Bring You To The Next Level...Then Join Emily Fletcher, Meditation Master And Bestselling Author, In This FREE Masterclass


She’ll also teach you:

The 3 myths about meditationthat will allow you to focus on what meditation really is, and how it can help you enhance your performance in life,

Understand the concept of ‘Adaptation Energy’, which is what high performers and successful people use to adapt and thrive in their respective fields,

A 15-minute guided meditation technique that you can use to instantly give you a boost of energy and help release the stress which is holding you back!

How to Uplevel Your Meditation to Become a Super Performer at Work & Life

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

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