Can Binaural Beats Get You High?
We test out some binaural beats, and assess whether they live up to the hype. There is certainly something special about them, but how far does it go?
Binaural beats have been referred to as “digital drugs” by some, especially those more conservative within society who don’t like what they don’t understand. But are these trippy tones really able to get you high, like the people selling them, and the people against them, would have us believe?
A binaural beat is a computer generated audio track that is claimed to synchronise your brain’s brainwaves, creating all sorts of different effect depending on the aim of the track. To call these tracks music is a far reach; basically, a different tone is played to each ear, with each tone having a slightly different frequency. This difference in frequency causes an interference pattern that creates the illusion of a beat. For this to work, they need to be played through headphones, in order to stop cross channel bleeding. If you simply google ‘binaural beats’ and play them through your speakers they won’t work, and just sound like garbled noises.
It all sounds pretty technical, but basically, these beats should induce varying effects on the brain, such as psychedelic experiences, relaxation, and even mood and behaviour modification.
DO BINAURAL BEATS WORK
The idea that audio tracks could be used to alter our state of consciousness is an exciting prospect. Just imagine, being able to get high from simply listening to ‘music’! However, whilst we love developments in the art of getting high, we also love the science behind them, so understandably, we are approaching this new revelation with a healthy degree of scepticism.
Anecdotal reports of their use sound quite promising, with most certainly feeling some kind of effect from these beats. Some say they feel like their mind was emptied, and could truly relax; others said that certain tracks took them down the road of self-realisation, causing them to assess parts of their lives that were otherwise ignored, and the decisions they had been making. However, it was certainly not the deep, soul exploring, mind expanding nature of a psychedelic trip.
There has not been much scientific research into binaural beats, but what has been done has not been finding positive results. One study compared binaural beats with the sound of a babbling brook, playing the beats to one group of participants and the babbling brook to another. Unfortunately, they found no difference in the way the audio tracks affected each group.
A second study imaged the brain whilst listening to the beats, finding there was variability, but it was likely to be caused by a conscious auditory reaction, rather than the frequency of the beats.
This falls in line with our thoughts and experiences with binaural beats. To us, it seems more like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can be observed with normal music as well. When you want it too, music can energise you for a work out, it can cause your soul to feel open, and it can make you happy. This is not to say that binaural beats do not work, but not to the extent that some would have you believe – they are certainly not comparable to more conventional drugs. It appears to be about your mind frame, the desire to encounter some kind of effect, and even potentially entering into a meditative state.
So if you are looking to relax, enhance mediation, and just generally experiment with your mind, there is certainly no harm in giving them a go. Binaural beats certainly do something, but just how significant it is will likely depend on you.
BINAURAL BEATS AND DRUGS
Whilst binaural beats may not quite be ‘digital drugs’, they certainly have the potential in helping alter your state of mind. As such, they are likely to be the perfect accompaniment to certain trips. A great example of this is ayahuasca, the intense hallucinations and guiding cerebral hand of a binaural beat work exquisitely together, making the whole experience much more profound.
This could also be the case with other hallucinogens, such as LSD and magic mushrooms. There is a lot of potential here.
So, to conclude, don’t expect binaural beats to cause a trip, but they have the capacity to alter your state of mind, if you are willing. It could result in some very interesting experiences, especially when used with meditation or actual hallucinogens. We have had quite a fun time testing them out, and are very interested to hear all of your own experiences. The fact that they are audio tracks - that have no potential for harm in any way, and are not illegal - make them well worth a go. So let us know what you think!