Binaural beats are audio frequencies that activate certain brainwaves. The audio can manipulate the brainwaves to specific frequencies such as beta, alpha, theta and delta, which correspond to different levels of brain activity and consciousness. Binaural beats can be created using computer audio production programs and are commonly used for studying, meditating and falling asleep.
Unless binaural beats are played extremely loud, they are harmless to the ear and body. The danger lies in their effects on the mind, how the human interprets sound and what negative effects they could have. The human mind shuffles between all four of the main brainwave states throughout the day and sleep. The mind has a good idea of what state it should be in at any given time, and some researchers have suggested that altering that state is unnatural.
Effects on the Mind
Binaural beats have a profound effect on the mind. If they are used at appropriate times, such as to stimulate a beta state (alert and awake) when trying to fall asleep, the person will undoubtedly be anxious and find it difficult to sleep. According to Binauralbeatsonline.com, binaural beats are safe if used at the appropriate time and setting. The mind will get stressed or have an adverse reaction only if it is receiving mixed signals one from the audio track and a conflicting command from the consciousness.
When Not to Use Binaural Beats
Binaural beats can be dangerous when used at inappropriate times. The most extreme example would be if a person attempts to do something that requires a very alert and active mind for his safety. For example, if a person is driving a car and listening to binaural beat designed to stimulate a delta (deep sleep) state of mind, the results could be disastrous.
Short Term vs. Long Term
The effects of binaural beats on the listener taper off after an hour at most, although an enhanced mood may be felt for much longer. Using binaural beats for appropriate activities is common and harmless. According to Binauralbeatsounds.com, danger could arise if a person is exposed to binaural beats 24 hours a day. Even if he is adjusting the frequency to match the setting, the mind is not getting a chance to function in its most natural state of fluctuation.
The biggest danger lies among people with mental or psychological disorders. The effects binaural beats have on the mind vary with condition and personality, but someone who is suffering from a mental disorder is strongly advised to consult his health care provider before listening to binaural beats. The binaural beats may trigger symptoms or aggravate a condition. Those who suffer from seizures or schizophrenia are advised not to listen to binaural beats at all, according to Binauralbeatsonline.com
Numerous scientific studies have been done on the effects of binaural beats. Electroencephalography, or EEG, machines have shown that binaural beats alter specific brainwave states. An article published in Scientific America in 1973 by Gerald Oster, titled "Auditory Beats in the Brain," confirms this.