Binaural Beats – Bullshit or Brilliant?

  • Difficult to distinguish bullshit from real truth on the internet.
  • Because spiritual and scientific come really close
  • There is a real tendency to claim all kinds of thruths that haven’t been verified in any way.
  • It is important to also find some real scientific evidence so that we can find support in other communities than just the spiritual ones.

What are binaural beats?

Binaural beats are a form of brainwave entrainment. Well, what are brainwaves anyway? Electrical activity of the brain can be measured by an Electro-Encephalogram (EEG). As the electric activity of our brain occurs in waves, this activity is called ‘brainwaves’. Low-frequency waves (delta) are typical for sleep or relaxation (theta), where higher frequency waves like beta are observed in alert or highly concentrated states.

Binaural beats can be used to alter the frequency of these brainwaves. Two tones are generated. One in the left ear and one in the right ear. These tones slightly differ from each other in frequency. This difference in phase of these frequencies creates a ‘third’ frequency oscillation between your ears. For example, if one tone is 150 Hz and the other is 155 Hz the resulting ‘third’ frequency will be 5 Hz. Binaural beats in turn ‘tune’ your brainwaves to this third frequency.

Scientific Evidence

Great, this sounds awesome right. But is it true? And does it work? Well, let’s see what kind of evidence there is.

A study by Lopez Caballero (2017) did not find any changes in brainwaves at all.


According to some studies (Garcia-ArgibayBeauchene, Beauchene) binaural beats might improve memory function. However, this only worked when the correct frequencies were applied (f.e. 15 Hz) and not for the lower frequencies (10 Hz or 5 Hz). Memory function improved after listening to beta waves, but decreased after listening to theta waves.

Systematic Review was written.


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