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Binaural Auditory Beats Affect Vigilance Performance and Mood

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LANE, J. D., S. J. KASIAN, J. E. OWENS AND G. R. MARSH. Binaural auditory beats affect vigilance performance and mood. PHYSIOL BEHAV 63(2) 249–252, 1998.—When two tones of slightly different frequency are presented separately to the left and right ears the listener perceives a single tone that varies in amplitude at a frequency equal to the frequency difference between the two tones, a perceptual phenomenon known as the binaural auditory beat. Anecdotal reports suggest that binaural auditory beats within the electroencephalograph frequency range can entrain EEG activity and may affect states of consciousness, although few scientific studies have been published. This study compared the effects of binaural auditory beats in the EEG beta and EEG theta/delta frequency ranges on mood and on performance of a vigilance task to investigate their effects on subjective and objective measures of arousal. Participants (n = 29) performed a 30-min visual vigilance task on three different days while listening to pink noise containing simple tones or binaural beats either in the beta range (16 and 24 Hz) or the theta/delta range (1.5 and 4 Hz). However, participants were kept blind to the presence of binaural beats to control expectation effects. Presentation of beta-frequency binaural beats yielded more correct target detections and fewer false alarms than presentation of theta/delta frequency binaural beats. In addition, the beta-frequency beats were associated with less negative mood. Results suggest that the presentation of binaural auditory beats can affect psychomotor performance and mood. This technology may have applications for the control of attention and arousal and the enhancement of human performance. © 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

 
Binaural Beat Technology in Humans: A Pilot Study to Assess Psychologic and Physiologic Effects

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Introduction: Binaural beat technology (BBT) products are sold internationally as personal development and health improvement tools. Producers suggest benefit from regular listening to binaural beats including reduced stress and anxiety, and increased focus, concentration, motivation, confidence, and depth in meditation. Binaural beats are auditory brainstem responses that originate in the superior olivary nucleus as a result of different frequency auditory stimuli provided to each ear. Listeners to binaural beat “hear” a beat at a frequency equal to the difference between the frequencies of the applied tones. Objectives: The objectives of this pilot study were to gather preliminary data on psychologic and physiologic effects of 60 days daily use of BBT for hypothesis generation and to assess compliance, feasibility, and safety for future studies. Design: Uncontrolled pilot study. Subjects: Eight healthy adults participated in the study. Intervention: Participants listened to a CD with delta (0–4 Hz) binaural beat frequencies daily for 60 days. Outcome Measures: Psychologic and physiological data were collected before and after a 60-day intervention. Psychologic: Depression (Beck Depression Inventory-2), anxiety (State–Trait Anxiety Inventory), mood (Profile of Mood States), absorption (Tellegen Absorption Scale) and quality of Life (World Health Organization-Quality of Life Inventory). Physiological: Cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, melatonin, insulin-like growth factor-1, serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, weight, blood pressure, high sensitivity C-reactive protein. Results: There was a decrease in trait anxiety (p = 0.004), an increase in quality of life (p = 0.03), and a decrease in insulin-like growth factor-1 (p = 0.01) and dopamine (p = 0.02) observed between pre- and postintervention measurements. Conclusions: Binaural beat technology may exhibit positive effect on self-reported psychologic measures, especially anxiety. Further research is warranted to explore the effects on anxiety using a larger, randomized and controlled trial.

 
Human auditory steady state responses to binaural and monaural beats

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Objective: Binaural beat sensations depend upon a central combination of two different temporally encoded tones, separately presented to the two ears. We tested the feasibility to record an auditory steady state evoked response (ASSR) at the binaural beat frequency in order to find a measure for temporal coding of sound in the human EEG. Methods: We stimulated each ear with a distinct tone, both differing in frequency by 40 Hz, to record a binaural beat ASSR. As control, we evoked a beat ASSR in response to both tones in the same ear. We band-pass filtered the EEG at 40 Hz, averaged with respect to stimulus onset and compared ASSR amplitudes and phases, extracted from a sinusoidal non-linear regression fit to a 40 Hz period average. Results: A 40 Hz binaural beat ASSR was evoked at a low mean stimulus frequency (400 Hz) but became undetectable beyond 3 kHz. Its amplitude was smaller than that of the acoustic beat ASSR, which was evoked at low and high frequencies. Both ASSR types had maxima at fronto-central leads and displayed a fronto-occipital phase delay of several ms. Conclusions: The dependence of the 40 Hz binaural beat ASSR on stimuli at low, temporally coded tone frequencies suggests that it may objectively assess temporal sound coding ability. The phase shift across the electrode array is evidence for more than one origin of the 40 Hz oscillations. Significance: The binaural beat ASSR is an evoked response, with novel diagnostic potential, to a signal that is not present in the stimulus, but generated within the brain.

 
Pilot Feasibility Study of Binaural Auditory Beats for Reducing Symptoms of Inattention in Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

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Introduction: The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the potential for the use of binaural auditory beat stimulation to reduce the symptom of inattention in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Methods: This pilot study had a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Twenty participants were randomly assigned to listen to either an audio program on compact disk that contained binaural auditory beats or a sham audio program that did not have binaural beats for 20 minutes, three times a week for 3 weeks. The Children's Color Trails Test, the Color Trails Test, the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA), and the Homework Problem Checklist were used to measure changes in inattention pre- and post intervention. Results: Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to analyze pre- and post intervention scores on the Color Trails Tests, Homework Problem Checklist, and the TOVA. The effect of time was significant on the Color Trails Test. However, there were no significant group differences on the Color Trails Test or the TOVA scores post intervention. Parents reported that the study participants had fewer homework problems post intervention. Discussion: The results from this study indicate that binaural auditory beat stimulation did not significantly reduce the symptom of inattention in the experimental group. However, parents and adolescents stated that homework problems due to inattention improved during the 3-week study. Parents and participants stated that the modality was easy to use and helpful. Therefore, this modality should be studied over a longer time frame in a larger sample to further its effectiveness to reduce the symptom of inattention in those diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

 
Tracking EEG changes in response to alpha and beta binaural beats

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A binaural beat can be produced by presenting two tones of a differing frequency, one to each ear. Such auditory stimulation has been suggested to influence behavior and cognition via the process of cortical entrainment. However, research so far has only shown the frequency following responses in the traditional EEG frequency ranges of delta, theta and gamma. Hence a primary aim of this research was to ascertain whether it would be possible to produce clear changes in the EEG in either the alpha or beta frequency ranges. Such changes, if possible, would have a number of important implications as well as potential applications. A secondary goal was to track any observable changes in the EEG throughout the entrainment epoch to gain some insight into the nature of the entrainment effects on any changes in an effort to identify more effective entrainment regimes. Twenty two healthy participants were recruited and randomly allocated to one of two groups, each of which was exposed to a distinct binaural beat frequency for ten 1-minute epochs. The first group listened to an alpha binaural beat of 10 Hz and the second to a beta binaural beat of 20 Hz. EEG was recorded from the left and right temporal regions during pre-exposure baselines, stimulus exposure epochs and post-exposure baselines. Analysis of changes in broad-band and narrow-band amplitudes, and frequency showed no effect of binaural beat frequency eliciting a frequency following effect in the EEG. Possible mediating factors are discussed and a number of recommendations are made regarding future studies, exploring entrainment effects from a binaural beat presentation.

 
Semantic-based Bayesian Network to Determine Correlation Between Binaural-beats Features and Entrainment Effects

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Abstract— In coping with hectic everyday lives, people have tried many different ways to reduce stress and depression. Such effort has also lead to meditation practice, which is believed and proven able to help. While meditation is beneficial, for some people, meditation is just hard to perform. These people may switch to other alternatives that give the same effects as meditation, such as through binaural beats entrainment. Many studies on brainwave entrainment have demonstrated that the brain responds by synchronizing its own electrical cycles to the same rhythm of the stimulating binaural-beats audio. The results of binaural beats entrainment towards the brainwave can be determined by monitoring the EEG readings, which can be analyzed to capture the altered brainwave patterns and qualities they exhibit. In relation to the monitoring process, our work focuses on capturing and analyzing the correlations between different binaural beats features to resulting EEG and perceived mental states. A general methodology is presented while detailing further on the proposed Semantic-based Bayesian Network Engine, which is the core mechanism employed in capturing the correlations. This novel approach is proposed firstly due to the well-known capability of Bayesian Network in modeling the elements of causal and effects. Secondly, with the introduction of semantic notion, the engine is enhanced even more for allowing dynamic-construction of Bayesian Network based on its semantics.

 
A comparison of auditory evoked potentials to acoustic beats and to binaural beats

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The purpose of this study was to compare cortical brain responses evoked by amplitude modulated acoustic beats of 3 and 6 Hz in tones of 250 and 1000 Hz with those evoked by their binaural beats counterparts in unmodulated tones to indicate whether the cortical processes involved differ. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded to 3- and 6-Hz acoustic and binaural beats in 2000 ms duration 250 and 1000 Hz tones presented with approximately 1 s intervals. Latency, amplitude and source current density estimates of ERP components to beats-evoked oscillations were determined and compared across beat types, beat frequencies and base (carrier) frequencies. All stimuli evoked tone-onset components followed by oscillations corresponding to the beat frequency, and a subsequent tone-offset complex. Beats-evoked oscillations were higher in amplitude in response to acoustic than to binaural beats, to 250 than to 1000 Hz base frequency and to 3 Hz than to 6 Hz beat frequency. Sources of the beats-evoked oscillations across all stimulus conditions located mostly to left temporal lobe areas. Differences between estimated sources of potentials to acoustic and binaural beats were not significant. The perceptions of binaural beats involve cortical activity that is not different than acoustic beats in distribution and in the effects of beat- and base frequency, indicating similar cortical processing.