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Can Binaural Beats Make You Smarter?

The next time you're looking to boost performance, reach for your headphones.

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The following article is based on excerpts from Ben Angel's book, Unstoppable: A 90-Day Plan to Biohack Your Mind and Body for Success. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound. And be sure to order The Unstoppable Journal, the only journal of its kind based on neuroscience, psychology and biohacking to help you reach your goals.

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We all want to be at our best and achieve mastery in our careers, but what if you could actually train your brain to think smarter, improve memory and enhance focus just by wearing headphones or earbuds? Well, there is a little more to brain entrainment than that, and I want to share with you what I learned about Binaural Beats during my 90-day journey to become unstoppable.

Binaural beats are when you hear two tones, one in each ear, that are slightly different in frequency, and your brain will then process a "phantom beat" representing the difference between the two frequencies. For a binaural beat to work, the two tones must have frequencies less than 1000 Hz, and the difference between the two tones can't be more than 30 Hz. There are five levels of frequencies that all impact a person's or waking brain patterns.

Related: 8 Ways to Improve Your Brain Power

According to brain-entrainment experts, there are five types of brain waves, as follows:

  • Delta pattern: Binaural beats in the delta pattern operate at a frequency of 0.5-4 Hz with links to dreamless sleep.

  • Theta pattern: The theta pattern frequency of 4-7 Hz contributes to improved , creativity, and sleep in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.

  • Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7-13 Hz and may encourage relaxation.

  • Beta pattern: Binaural beats in the beta pattern are at a frequency of 13-30 Hz. This frequency range may help promote concentration and alertness. Although in the higher end of frequency, they can cause increased anxiety.

  • Gamma pattern: This frequency pattern accounts for a range of 30-50 Hz, the fastest vibration. It is responsible for cognitive functioning, learning, memory and information processing

Studies are now showing that the benefits of using binaural beats can help in many areas such as:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety.

  • Increased focus, concentration and motivation.

  • Improved confidence.

  • Deeper meditation.

  • Enhanced psychomotor performance and mood.

Fadel Zeidan, a researcher in neurobiology at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, conducted a study reviewed in Consciousness and Cognition stating that, "After just four days of daily 20-minute meditation, participants demonstrated significant improvements in memory, cognition and lowered stress levels. Perhaps most notably, the group that meditated scored as much as 10 times better on a working memory task, an important part of fluid intelligence."

Recent studies from the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the National University in Madrid found that exposure to beta frequency increased long-term memory. So we are seeing that with not much effort, we are able to enhance and maintain greater cognitive performance by implementing binaural beats into daily regimens like yoga, meditation and exercise.

The excitement around these findings doesn't stop there. Siegfried Othme conducted neurofeedback research on participants using brainwave training. In one study, brain-wave entrainment usage was shown to:

  • Produce average IQ increases of 23 percent.

  • Facilitate an average IQ increase of 33 points in cases where the IQ was lower than 100 to begin with.

  • Assist significant improvements in memory, reading and arithmetic.

In a follow-up one year later, Othmer concluded trainees showed major improvements in self-esteem, concentration and self-expression.

Oftentimes at work, we can find ourselves in stressful situations that can cause difficulty in focus and concentration. A recent study has proven that using binaural beats before a stressful event like surgery can reduce the stress up to 33 percent.

In 2019, I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Patrick Porter, the founder of BrainTap Technologies, a device that not only utilizes binaural beats, but also guided meditation, isochronic tones and light therapy for a complete brain-entrainment system. I'll be sharing more on this amazing device in an upcomimng article.

Related: 5 Appts to Boost Your Brain Power

If you're not sure where to start and want more information about binaural beats, check out BrainBeatsGeek, a website that can help you find various listening experiences. This is a great place to start for the seasoned beater or novice beginner. So whether you're looking to stay focused during an impending project or decompress after a hectic day, you might just want to reaching for your headsets to become the peak performer you were meant to be.

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