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Binaural beats are sometimes touted as a substitute or addition to meditation. Benefits of these brain hum sounds include better concentration, relaxation or reduced anxiety.

In this article, we list where you can listen to these binaural rhythms and what the scientific basis is.

Binaural sounds have many names in this context, including:

We use them synonymously in this article.

What are binaural beats?

Binaural means something that is sensed with two ears.

Binaural beats are rhythmic sounds created by the difference in frequency of two sounds applied to the ears. For example, the brain interprets a 440 hertz sound in the left ear and a 444 hertz sound in the right ear as a new sound that beats at 4 hertz (or four times per second).

The listener’s brain can attune to the same rhythm as this binaural rhythm, so by listening to different binaural beats, different parts of the brain can be stimulated.

Research evidence on binaural beats is mixed. They may not have the desired effect – and if they do, it may well be a placebo effect. Binaural beats can also have unwanted side effects, such as increased anxiety.

Where can you listen to binaural beats?

If you want to try out what these binaural rhythms sound like at this stage, put on some headphones and try them out.

Binaural beats on YouTube

A quick, easy and cheap way to test how these sounds affect you is the good old familiar YouTube. Search for “binaural beats” and the frequency you want.

Beta waves for concentration

This video has no other music or effects and is long enough for long sessions.

Delta waves for sleep and relaxation

Similar video to the one above, but with delta waves.

Binaural rhythms on Spotify

You can also find binaural recordings on Spotify. The problem with these is usually their short duration, because artists want to get more plays for their songs.

A better place to start is the podcast side, where recordings are usually much longer.

Here are some to try:

Apps and services

If you’re really into binaural rhythms, and you want them to support what you’re doing, here are some apps and services.

A US-based service with a wide range of brain hums for different situations, such as concentration and falling asleep.

With the code ALLGOODGREAT you get -20% off the price of your order.

Try it*

The Binaural Beats app in the Apple Store

A well-reviewed app for Apple devices.

Try it

The Binaural Beats app on the Google Play Store

Similarly for Android, this app has received good reviews.

Try it

What do you need for listening to these sounds?

For binaural sounds, you need headphones so that the sound can reach both ears. You can’t listen to them through speakers – or at least the mechanism of action is not the same. You can also listen to monaural recordings without headphones.

You will need:

Is there scientific evidence for the effects of binaural beats?

According to this literature review, studies on binaural rhythms are partly contradictory and partly incomplete. Various studies have reported, for example, that binaural rhythms alleviate anxiety and can improve concentration.

The inconsistency of the results may be due to the fact that binaural beats can be used in different ways, so the desired effect may come from something other than the sound itself.

There is no clear indication as to:

What effects can binaural rhythms have?

Positive effects of binaural rhythms, according to the industry, include.

The effect can come partly from the placebo effect and partly from the fact that you are doing something purposefully. For example, putting on headphones for a task that requires concentration can in itself help you to concentrate.

To try out binaural sounds, below is a list of different frequencies that are said to have different effects.

Alpha waves (8–13 Hz): relaxation

Beta waves (12–33 Hz): concentration

Delta waves (1–3 Hz): deep sleep

Theta waves (3.5–8 Hz): imagination

Gamma waves (30–100 Hz): alertness

So go ahead and wum-wum-wum-wum away!