Do binaural beats only work with headphones?

Do binaural beats only work with headphones

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Do binaural beats only work with headphones?

I’ve noticed on the internet that quite a few people ask the question:

“Do binaural beats only work with headphones?”

The answer is a simple ‘Yes’ because of the way that binaural beats work.

Read my article on the best headphones for binaural beats.

If you haven’t got time to read it and just want to see my recommendation, check out the best headphones for binaural beats here.

What happens when you listen to binaural beats?

When you listen to a binaural beats mp3 the sound is engineered so that a tone of one frequency is played in one ear and a tone of a different frequency is played in the other ear.

The brain then ‘creates’ a tone that is pitched at the frequency that is the difference between the two original tones.

Confused?  To explain, if you listen to a 205Hz beat in oneear and a 210Hz beat in the other, your brain would actually create and hear a 5Hz tone.

The process was actually discovered by a physicist called WH Dove in 1839 but the necessary equipment to prove it wasn’t available until the 150s.

It follows the same principle that a second tuning fork placed near to an already vibrating tuning fork would begin to vibrate at the same frequency.

This phenomenon is known as entrainment.  Getting your brain to do it is brainwave entrainment.

So why not just listen to a 5Hz tone?

Because human hearing cannot generally hear tones below 20Hz.

We’re just not made to be able to hear things at that level, even though it can benefit us to do so.

So why listen to something we shouldn’t be able to hear?

To answer this question properly, we need to talk about brainwaves and how they affect us.

You can read my article What are Brainwaves for a more detailed explanation but I’ll summarise it here.

Our brain gives out electrical pulses as it does it’s stuff.

Those pulses can be measured by an EEG machine and are expressed in cycles per second, known as Hertz or Hz for short.

It has been shown that the state of our brainwaves will dictate the state of our mind.

We spend most of our active time awake in Beta, which is when our brain is operating at 13Hz – 40Hz.

Other recognised brainwave states are Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma and spending time in these states can be very good for our mental health.

But getting into these states  is often difficult to achieve so listening to binaural beats and brainwave entrainment audios can be really helpful.

What if I don’t like wearing headphones?

Perhaps you wear glasses and the headphones hurt your ears?

Or perhaps you want to listen to audios in bed while you sleep?

This isn’t a problem.

Instead you should look for brainwave entrainment that uses isochronic tones.

Isochronic tones were discovered in 1981 after developments and improvements in digital technology.

They are fast audio pulses generated using computer software so can be very precise.

The same tone goes into both ears so you can listen over speakers if you want to.

Alternatively, check out the range of popular sleepphones which are headphones built into a headband.

What binaural beats or brainwave entrainment will help me?

You can use brainwave entrainment for a number of purposes.

You can use Zen12 for meditation.

Brain Evolution System is the best program for overall brain development.

Or check out my list of the best binaural beats and isochronic tones available today.


I hope you liked my answer to the question “Do binaural beats only work with headphones?”

If you did – or if you didn’t – please consider leaving a comment.  It would be great to hear from you. A Facebook like would be great too!


Carl, Binaural Beats Guru.

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