Methods of Brainwave Entrainment

There are three main methods currently used for brainwave entrainment; Binaural Betas, Monaural Beats and Isochronic Tones.

Binaural Beats

Two waveforms combine to produce the ‘binaural beats’

In 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster of Mount Sinai Medical Center published a report in the Scientific American called “Auditory Beats in the Brain”. In it, he explained that when tones of different frequencies were presented separately to each ear, pulsations called binaural beats occurred in the brain, which resulted in the whole brain becoming entrained to the internal beat and resonating to that frequency.

The application of the binaural brainwave entrainment process is quite simple. You hear two pure tones in each ear. Let's say 400 Hertz and 410 Hertz. Each ear hears a singular tone. Your brain detects the difference between these two frequencies - and 'produces' a 3rd tone of 10 Hertz inside the brain.

How binaural beats generates a single frequency in the brain

Even though you perceive this 10 Hz sound, the third tone is not an actual sound at all; rather, it is an electrical signal that is created as your brain processes each tone from the left and right ear separately. As the brain continually processes this 3rd ghost signal, it begins to emulate (or “entrain”) to that 10 Hz stimulus.

This phantom 10 Hz signal is created by both sides of the brain working in unison. This dual processing can lead to a state called hemispheric synchronization, or whole brain sync. This high function brain state occurs when both sides of the brain are functioning in tandem.

This is especially useful for entraining the brain to frequencies that are below the threshold of human hearing as entrainment at these levels cannot be produced by Isochronic or Monaural beats.

Isochronic Tones (Also referred to as Pulsed or Rhythmic tones)


Isochronic tones played out of each speaker are identically spaced

Isochronic tones, also referred to as Rhythmic Entrainment uses audio entrainment pulses to entrain the brain; a single tone that is cycled on and off to produce the beat. The main advantage of using Isochronic tones over Binaural beats is that they do not require stereo headphones for effective entrainment. It has also been claimed that the brain adapts to, and as a result filters out binaural beats with prolonged use, and although there is some research that supports this hypothesis, there is still conflicting evidence over this claim.

Monaural beats

Monaural beats waveform

Monaural beats play both tones in each channel, so the interference pattern that produces the entrainment beat is present outside your head and again does not need headphones to be heard.

 

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Brainwave Entrainment - Related Articles & Techniques

Introduction to Brainwave Entrainment

Understanding Brainwaves and Mental States

Brainwave Entrainment for Whole Brain Functioning

 

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