Binaural Beats for Anxiety
The use of binaural beats is an emerging form of therapy recommended to treat anxiety and stress-related conditions. A binaural beat is when you hear a different frequency tone in each ear, but the brain perceives them as one. Even though there is a difference between the two.
Auditory beat stimulation is still in the experimental phase, with one small study showing patients having a 26% drop in anxiety symptoms over two weeks after listening to binaural beats for 20 minutes each day. While it’s not a replacement for clinical treatment, the use of binaural beats is worth exploring.
What Are Habits that Signal Anxiety?
Some people suffer from occasional anxiety, while others may develop a severe case of it. Common bad habits used to cope with anxiety include:
- Nail biting
- Skin picking and hair pulling
- Constantly eating or snacking
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Developing a disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Developing repetitive actions such as hand washing or cleaning
- Self-punishment and harm like cutting the arms
- Alcohol and substance abuse
Is Perfectionism Related to Anxiety?
Perfectionism can often heighten feelings of anxiety and stress. Perfectionists set unattainable standards that ultimately set the person up for failure and create a negative self-image. The need for everything to be perfect can often lead to procrastination and never starting a task at all.
How Anxiety Affects the Brain?
Anxiety is your mind and body’s reaction to a dangerous, stressful, or uncomfortable situation. It has four major effects on the brain:
- Increased stress hormones in the brain
- Your brain becomes hypersensitive to threats
- Can cause irrational thoughts and erratic behavior
- Tricks your brain into holding onto negative memories
Do Binaural Beats Work for Anxiety?
In a study done with 15 anxious participants, researchers found that listening to binaural beat tapes reduced anxiety scores.
In a meta-analysis done, researchers concluded that exposure to binaural beats was an effective method of reducing anxiety levels. The first and second examples clearly show the clinical benefits possible with this special form of music.
In the meta-analysis mentioned, when used to assess psychologic and physiologic response, the effectiveness of binaural beats was dependent on:
- The amount of time spent listening to binaural
- The frequency of use
- The moment listening took place
There’s a lot of evidence that binaural beats help. And as more research comes to the forefront, it’s beginning to become clearer of its effects.
Can Binaural Beats Help With Stress?
We discussed how binaural beats could help anxiety levels, but what about stress? Since stress can cause anxiety disorders, it’s important to know whether you can decrease stress levels with binaural as it may also cause reduced anxiety.
In one study analyzing the effect of a theta binaural beat, researchers found that the beats could actually reduce the stress response from an acute psychological stressor.
Overall, binaural beats seem to have a positive impact on stress levels and anxiety. Which can encourage relaxation and can translate to greater mood states.
Benefits of Binaural Beat Therapy
Binaural beat therapy can also help increase concentration and take a person to a deeper level of meditation. Other benefits include:
- Improve confidence
- Increase focus and motivation
- Improve long-term memory
- A positive effect on mood and performance
Can Binaural Beats Be Harmful?
As of right now, there are no known negative side effects of binaural beats. The psychologic and physiologic effects in studies have only positively affected people’s health and life.
The only risk that could come from binaural beats is the act of listening to the beats at too loud of volume.
Because no two beat frequencies are the same, our ears may be more sensitive to slightly different frequencies.
It’s best to keep the volume at a level that won’t harm your ears, no matter the frequency played.
Guide to Using Binaural Beats for Anxiety
To improve symptoms with binaural beats, you need a pair of headphones and access to the BetterSleep app. Click on the ‘’brain waves’’ tab to access the binaural beats, which can be played over soothing sounds or music. Options for binaural beats include:
- Binaural beats Delta 2.5HZ. Helps you to relax and fall into a deep sleep.
- Binaural beats Mid Theta 5HZ. Encourages a deep state of meditation, reduces anxiety, and improves REM sleep.
- Binaural beats Mid Alpha 10HZ. Decrease anxiety and encourages relaxation and positivity.
- Binaural beats Low Theta 4HZ. Guide your brain to experience dreams.
- Binaural beats Low Alpha 8HZ. Mimics the pre-awake and pre-sleep brain waves frequency, allowing smooth sleep transitions.
- Binaural beats Beta 20HZ. Great to use when the focus is needed. Helps to improve memory, increase alertness and enhance problem-solving capabilities.
What Frequency Helps With Anxiety Most?
There are a lot of options when it comes to the selection of binaural sounds. However, is there a frequency that helps anxiety most? If so, it might be best to stick to the frequency that could have the most positive impact and improve anxiety.
After 40 minutes of exposure and at a delta frequency (2.5HZ), binaural beats were reported to reduce anxiety in healthy participants.
With that said, there isn’t a lot of scientific data on specific frequencies and the positive impact they may have compared to others.
It’s best to try a few different frequencies out to see which one has helped you the most. Doing so can pinpoint a specific frequency that helps you with your anxiety. After all, what one person might find helpful, another may not.
Should You Listen to Binaural Beats While Sleeping?
Binaural beats help with anxiety, but the sound may also bring you to a state of deep relaxation. And Research suggests it can help you fall asleep. But is there harm to listening to them while you’re in a state of slumber?
There isn’t much information out there providing evidence of the negative side effects of listening to it while you’re snoozing.
However, listening to any sort of sound like music or binaural beat audio with headphones or earbuds can slowly harm your hearing over time. And as the two frequencies between ears can differ, there’s the potential of harm to your left ear or your right ear separately from one another.
The time you spend with earbuds or headphones and the volume you listen to them can contribute to noise-induced hearing damage. This is why it’s so important to keep the sounds at an appropriate volume and limit the amount of time you use them.
While the act of listening to binaural beats while you’re sleeping isn’t going to cause problems, it’s more the idea of hearing sounds at a high volume and for long periods.
If you’re going to listen to binaural beats while sleeping, it’s best to avoid higher volumes and prolonged exposure.
Using Binaural Beats for Anxiety
Using binaural beats is a great way to relax, destress, and even prepare for a good night’s sleep. Many studies back up the idea that binaural beat audio can positively impact our health and mood. It can even be used with your meditation practice, and binaural beat technology is slowly becoming a form of sound wave therapy as well.
The potential benefits are limitless. But there is one drawback: the potential noise-induced ear damage that could occur from long exposure and loud volume.
And because there’s a difference in frequencies between one ear and another, there’s the potential for damage to only the left ear and only the right ear.
To avoid both cases, you should listen to these sounds at a lower volume and do your best not to do it throughout an entire night of sleep or long periods.
Overall, they’re a great solution to a very relevant and common problem. Whether you deal with anxiety because of certain health conditions or your healthcare professional has given you a diagnosis, anxiety can enormously affect your quality of life.
Working to solve it is incredibly important as it can make all the difference in your sleep, lifestyle, and well-being.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, BetterSleep offers various binaural and ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) sounds you can use to deal with anxiety and even help you get a better night’s sleep. Try it for free today!