Monday, February 3, 2014

Binaural beats!

With our update in late January we introduced a binaural beats option.

What are binaural beats?

When using headphones, if you have one frequency of sound playing in one ear, and another frequency in another ear you'll experience an auditory hallucination: you will hear as if there is a third frequency playing at the difference between the frequencies in your left ear and right ear.  Here is an example:

left ear sound: 196Hz
right ear sound: 200.5Hz
hallucinated sound: 200.5Hz - 196Hz = 4.5Hz

Since this hallucinated sound is a low frequency we interpret it as a beat; hence the name: binaural beats.  Your brain's neurons also fire in rhythmic and repetitive patterns, and these are classified as delta, theta, alpha, beta, or gamma brainwaves.  Many believe these different brainwaves correspond to different moods.  Below is a table taken from wikipedia showing the different brainwaves:

Frequency rangeNameUsually associated with:
> 40 HzGamma wavesHigher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and consciousness
13–39 HzBeta wavesActive, busy or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia
7–13 HzAlpha wavesRelaxation (while awake), pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness, REM sleep, Dreams
8–12 HzMu wavesMu rhythmSensorimotor rhythm
4–7 HzTheta wavesDeep meditation/relaxation, NREM sleep
< 4 HzDelta wavesDeep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness

What are they good for?

Many people believe that different binaural beats are able to stimulate our brainwaves to mimicking those same frequencies and therefore move us more towards that state of mind.  For example, listening to a beta binaural beat may make you want to be more active.

Figure 1

How do I use them in Paced Breathing?

Plug in a pair of good headphones into your phone and turn on binaural beats in Paced Breathing by clicking on the sound menu (Figure 1) and selecting Binaural from the menu.  Make sure the volume is set low; the sounds aren't any more effective the louder they are, so there is no sense in straining your ears.  We've actually found the beats quite soothing at low levels, but quite maddening when turned up too loud.

What frequencies does Paced Breathing use

Paced Breathing normally plays a combination of 196Hz (G3) and 392Hz (G4) sounds in mono when inhaling, and 261.63Hz (C4) and 523.25Hz (C3) sounds  when exhaling.

When you switch to binarual beats mode we play those frequencies in your left ear and in your right ear we play those same frequencies at a 4.5Hz  higher frequency; meaning we play a binaural beat of 4.5Hz which is classified as a Theta wave.

How can I change the frequencies

As of today, you can't.  However, we will add the ability to change your binaural beat frequency in the future.

-Breathe Easy


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  2. Binaural beats sleep induction are a type of brainwave entrainment technology that influences the electrical processes of the human brain. The term “binaural beats” is used to define the changes that take place within an individual’s.

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