Virtual reality technology has brought binaural, 3D or 8D sound to the present day. This type of sound is surprisingly realistic and has therapeutic applications.
The human experience of sound is total. We close our eyes, we feel, we listen, our heart speeds up or slows down, we can locate where each vibration comes from, perhaps an emotion arises.
However, in the technological reproduction of sound, all of it comes from boxes that emit it with more or less decibels. Stereo attempts to produce a spatial perception, but is limited to the left-right axis.
Binaural playback technology achieves a much more realistic spatial effect. If you close your eyes, you can locate which direction the sound is coming from in relation to any of the possible axes: front-back, up-down, and left-right.
Binaural sound recording and playback has been around for decades (first attempts date back to 1881) and has been called by different names such as 3D sound, Ambisonic, and now 8D sound or music.
8D OR BINAURAL MUSIC CAN BE USED TO MEDITATE, SLEEP BETTER OR REDUCE ANXIETY
It is currently undergoing a renaissance and growing popularity thanks to the rise of virtual reality systems.
To make a binaural or 8D recording, two microphones are placed in ear-like cavities on either side of an artificial head that recreates the density and shape of a human head (there are “4-ear” systems that achieve an even more accomplished effect). .
These microphones capture and process sound as it would be perceived by human ears (for example, a sound arriving from the left reaches the right ear a little later after passing through or around the skull).
Of course, this type of sound is better perceived with good headphones.
TRIGGERS A RELAXATION RESPONSE AT THE BRAIN LEVEL
Binaural sound or music offers many possibilities in the field of relaxation techniques and music therapy and they are already being explored.
The ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) online community uses binaural recordings to trigger physical responses that are relaxing, calming, stress-relieving, and even healing.
An example of binaural music for therapeutic purposes mixes a soothing melody with a beat at a certain rhythm that seems to occur deep in the brain.
To produce this sensation, a beat sound with a slightly different frequency is directed at each ear (for example, 200hz to one and 210hz to the other). The brain merges both sounds into one (therefore, in reality, that sound does not exist outside the brain) and perceives a new frequency of 10 Hz to which it tries to match.
SYNCHRONIZE YOUR BRAIN IN ALPHA OR THETA WAVES
A frequency of 10 Hz (the difference between the left and right sound) corresponds to alpha-type brain waves, which are associated with states of relaxation.
If the binaural sound produces a frequency of 4-7 Hz, it enters the range of theta waves, typical of the state of deep sleep or meditation.
Therapists claim that binaural beats in the theta range reduce pain and anxiety. On Youtube you can easily find music to meditate or compositions designed to cure insomnia, put an end to fears, improve memory or feel happy.
No doubt some exaggerate, but there is some very interesting science behind this therapeutic invention.
THE SCIENCE OF BINAURAL THERAPY
Dr. Troy A. Smith, from the University of North Georgia (United States) affirms that it can be an effective tool to synchronize brain waves to the desired frequencies, for example, those of the delta and theta waves typical of relaxation and sleep. .
There are studies that prove it. For example, a study of 15 young soccer players at the German Sports University in Cologne found that there was a significant reduction in anxiety and an improvement in sleep quality when they listened to binaural beats while sleeping.
Another study, this one conducted at the University of Richmond, found that 77% of 36 participants with chronic pain noted a significant decrease in discomfort after listening to binaural beats for 20 minutes each day.
DO IT TAKING CARE OF YOUR EARS
If you decide to try the magic of binaural or 8D sound in its playful or therapeutic version, don’t forget to do it at a low volume. Loud volume for a long time causes hearing damage. And don’t drive while listening to 8d compositions to sleep or relax.
Although there are no known cases, in theory the binaural sound that incorporates a beat could be contraindicated if you suffer from epilepsy, suffer from cardiac arrhythmias or wear a pacemaker.