What are binaural beats? That seems to be the question that a lot of people have been asking over the last few weeks. Are binaural beats drugs? What is a binaural beats high? Do binaural beats really work? Are my children safe? Parents everywhere are now concerned about this “phenomena”. Truth is, it’s all a very misleading lie meant to scare, cause panic, and media sensationalism. There is no such thing as virtual drugs. Allow me to clarify just exactly what binaural beats are and what they do.
What Are Binaural Beats?
When two auditory tones of two different frequencies are heard in the left and right ears respectively, the brain then creates a third tone or frequency in itself that becomes perceived as a middle frequency of the two. The differences between the said two frequencies will then become the new frequency of the perceived tone in the brain. This tone is what a binaural beat is. For example, if one auditory tone with a frequency of 120Hz is heard in the right ear and another auditory tone is heard in the left ear at 130Hz, the perceived middle tone would have a frequency of 10Hz. This perceived middle tone is the binaural beat. It is not an audio drug that gets you high, merely a brainwave frequency.
The Science Behind It All
Binaural beats were first discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839 and were subsequently studied and published in the scientific journal Repertorium der Physik with his findings on the matter. However, despite the fact that research about binaural beats continued on well after their discovery, the subject remained something of that of a scientific curiosity until approximately 134 years later. The study of binaural beats finally made some real headway with the publishing of Gerald Oster’s article “Auditory Beats in the Brain”, which was published in the Scientific American in 1973.
Scientific research suggests that these binaural beats can increase various brainwave activities and enhance many different functions of the brain through these various brainwaves. There are five known brain waves states that present themselves in the human brain: delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.
- Delta waves range from 4 Hz or less and are associated with deep sleep.
- Theta waves range between 4-7 Hz and are associated with meditation and deep relaxation states.
- Alpha waves range between 7-13 Hz and are associated with wakeful relaxation.
- Beta waves range between 13-39 Hz and are associated with increased attention and alert states.
- Gamma waves range from 40 Hz and up and are associated with higher mental activity and problem solving.
Scientific studies and research has suggested that these brain waves can often be stimulated by the extended presence of binaural beats on the user when in the same frequency range as their respective brain waves. Because of the fact that researchers have and are able to stimulate these naturally occurring brain waves with binaural beats, essentially in theory, producing for example theta waves should cause the participant to become more relaxed and reach an peaceful state of mind.
What Are The Possible Uses Of Binaural Beats?
Now do binaural beats work? Essentially, to some degree, yes they do. The potential uses and benefits for stimulating naturally occurring brain waves are exponential. Research has investigated, for example, the effects binaural beats can have on relaxation. Relaxation through binaural beat training can also be used to reduce pre-operative anxiety. Binaural beats can also be used to increase performance on attention related tasks. There have even been some research results to suggest that binaural beats can assist children with ADHD with their performance on completing assignments. It is even possible to use binaural beats to assist with certain forms of therapy and even the affliction known as Tinnitus. To summarize, binaural beats can be used for:
- Attention and focus
- Physical Afflictions (i.e. Tinnitus)
- Possibly more!
So Where Did All This Drug Talk Come From?
So as you can see, all of this audio drugs and virtual drugs talk is just completely unfounded. There is no basis for any of it whatsoever. So where did it come from? The answer is simple, Lebanon and MTV. News sources claimed that in Lebanon, teenagers were using sound that makes you high in the form of binaural beats. Can music make you high? Absolutely not, and the mere thought of it is nonsense. They were even so inaccurate with their information that some sources called them “bineral beats”, “binaral beats”, or even “digital lyrics”, which is just an absolute mockery to the scientific community. No research was used, no scientific studies were conducted, and no professionals were ever consulted. All of this was merely hearsay and alarmed finger-pointing. To make matters worse, MTV then came out warning parents that children and teenagers were getting a binaural beats high using binaural beats drugs. They even claimed that using these “audio drugs” would serve as a “gateway” to real-world narcotics and illegal substances. This is absurd to the highest degree.
Media Sensationalism Exacerbated by I-Doser
Just when you thought that the hysteria couldn’t get any worse, out came I-Doser, a website claiming to sell binaural beats drugs and sound that makes you high. Featuring a sleek and well-made website to subdue the average web user, I-Doser claims to offer nearly two-hundred different forms of “virtual drugs” that can induce all manner of sensations and experiences, from the harmless state of relaxation or “sleep” to dosages as extreme as Heroin and Meth. It even features so called audio drugs known as “designer dosages” that featured fictional experiences such as “wolfsbane” and “deadly nightshade”. They even went as far as to sell dosages that claimed to be “unexplainable” and “out of this world” such as the “Hand of God” or “Gates of Hades”. Inevitably the website was told about on news stations such as ABC, NBC, Spike and Fox News. Not only did this spread their website to a wider audience, but it allowed them to use the classic ploy “as seen on TV” to make themselves seem even more credible. To add the finishing touch, their website says in highlighted letters in the middle of the page “Industry Leader in Simulated Experiences”. That was all that was needed to create a huge media tycoon of misinformation and panic, despite the fact that in their disclaimer they say that “I-Doser makes no medical, psychological, physical, or otherwise, claims to the effectiveness of the I-Doser Application, Simulation CDs and MP3s, or it’s included or purchased doses” (www.i-doser.com, 2014).
Hysteria Spreads Across The Internet
It didn’t take too long after that for other news groups, blogs, and websites to jump on the binaural beats high bandwagon with their own articles about “can music make you high” or “sound that makes you high”. Everyone started asking “what are binaural beats” and “do binaural beats really work”. There were articles interviewing hysterical mothers and school board members about teenagers buying the dosage mp3s and using headphones in their rooms to get high. These articles showed up on websites such as Wired.com, Vice.com, and even Alarabiya.net! Luckily, a few websites stopped to question first whether or not this was all true and was there any proof to back it all up. Some even brought in neuro scientists and doctors to get their opinion. All agreed that it was nonsense. Even they asked for proof, to which none was ever provided.
It Is Time For Everyone To Calm Down And Take A Breath
Hopefully by this point many of your questions have been answered. As you can clearly see, the reality of the situation is quite different from that being portrayed in the mainstream media. Parents, your children are not in any danger whatsoever. School board members can all relax. Teenagers are not spending hours upon hours in their bedrooms, sitting in the dark with their headphones on, listening to mp3s and getting high. Binaural beats are simply a frequency produced in the brain, by the brain, when listening to two different frequencies pitches to stimulate naturally occurring brainwaves. There is nothing sinister going on at all and everyone is safe. If anything, the usage of binaural beats, for both adults and especially for teenagers and children, should be encouraged and emphasized. These binaural beats can help your child focus on schoolwork when they are having trouble sitting down and completing the assignment. They can even help you after a hard day’s work when coming home to just sit down and relax and de-stress oneself in a natural and healthy way. The best binaural beats to use would most likely be the gamma waves, because by using these binaural beats and generating gamma brainwaves, you are able to stimulate your brain and put yourself into a higher state of mind and be better at thinking and problem-solving.
Let’s review what we’ve learned here, shall we?
- Binaural beats are not digital drugs.
- Binaural beats do not get you high.
- Binaural beats are not harmful to anyone.
- Your children and teenagers are safe.
- Binaural beats are frequencies produced in the brain by combining two other frequencies to create a middle tone.
- Binaural beats stimulate brainwaves.
- Brainwaves come in five forms: delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.
- These brainwaves can perform a variety of functions including sleep, relaxation, meditation, alertness, focus, problem-solving, thinking, and more.
- Binaural beats can be used for therapy and possibly treat physical ailments.
- Do not always believe what you are told in the news without first doing your own research on the subject, unless research is thoroughly provided.
I hope we have answered all of your questions. It is important to remember that while sometimes the media provides you with important need to know facts and updates going on in the world, it is also important to remember that sometimes the media just spouts things out to create sensationalism and good press, despite any consequences it may bring. While binaural beats are not in any way harmful to your children and teenagers, but in fact might even be beneficial for them, there are most certainly real dangers out there that you need to warn them about. Drugs are a serious issue and must be taken with the utmost severity and discipline. It is important to sit down with your children and discuss with them the dangers of serious drugs like heroin, meth, crack, and other horrible toxic substances. It may not always be easy to talk about these kinds of things with teenagers, but you must always remember that it’s for their own health and safety. Don’t just assume that they are being educated about these serious issues in schools. It is very possible that these issues are not discussed in schools because the school faculty thinks that you as a parent are discussing these things with them instead. Should that happen, then your child will never get the proper drug education that they need in order to avoid making serious life-threatening choices and could end up making some very dangerous mistakes. Remember to talk to your children and always be mindful of who your teenagers hang around with or where they are going. If you feel like your teenager might be getting into drugs, talk to them directly immediately. If this approach does not work, there are help lines and informational centers that you can call for aid.