Do Binaural Beats Really Work?

Binaural beats are sounds that affect your brain and are supposed to bring it in a particular state; be it relaxed or ready for high performance. They are a part of something called brainwave entrainment. Honestly, I still find it a strange concept, so let’s explore it together.


When our brain works, it emits electrical signals (aka waves) which we can measure with an EEG. Depending on the state it is in, i.e. we are relaxed, sleeping, stressed and much more, theses signals differ. Scientist groups those into four states:

  • Beta: We are awake and concentrate
  • Alpha: We relax, are creative, etc
  • Theta: We are meditating and extreme calm
  • Delta: We sleep

So, whatever you do, your brain works in one of those classified states.

The next part is an effect called entrainment. In physics, entrainment is a state where two systems which independently oscillate at different frequencies, synchronize when we bring them together and resulting in a combined frequency. It occurs in nature, i.e. frogs croaking at a lake, they start independently, but after some time you will hear just one sound; all the combined croaks.

The idea of brainwave entrainment is now to use the effect of entrainment on our brain. It works by playing two different sounds on your ear plugs and in your brain the combined sound comes to life, and your brain will try to join in the combined sound. So if you play the rights sounds, your brain will switch to a different state.

That’s the theory. Unfortunately, there is no clinical study to prove it, yet. Does that mean it does not work? I clearly say maybe. Music and sounds do have effects on our moods, and every one of us reacts differently to music. But we do not know if our brain reacts to these sounds and frequencies or if it works in a different way that music changes our mood. Nonetheless, sounds can change our mood.

I think you need to test it and see if it has an effect, at best a positive one, on you or not. It did not have a noticeable effect on me. I first came across it in the book Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life by Ben Greenfield and thought I would give it a try. I bought the Entrainer Audio Tracks from his site and tested it for some time. I can’t say if I noticed something or not.

But you do not need to buy an audio file, grab Gnaural from SourceForge and build some binaural beats yourself. Try it and please give feedback if it worked for you.

Blogheader image uses Icon by Aleksandr Novolokov of The Noun Project