Binaural Beats, Monaural Beats, and Isochronic Tones
The Different Types of Brainwave Entrainment
If you haven’t heard about them already, monaural beats and isochronic tones, like binaural beats, are a form of brainwave entrainment. They are a different type of technology designed to induce the brainwave frequencies into the desired effect. Although they are not as well known as binaural beats, they are becoming more popular.
Here is the difference between the three types of brainwave entrainment:
- Binaural BeatsAs you probably know, binaural beats entrain your brainwaves by playing two separate frequencies in each ear. The brain compensates for the difference which creates a third frequency inside the brain. Example: 200Hz played in the left ear, and 204.9Hz played in the right ear, creates a brainwave frequency of 4.9Hz, which is a low Theta state. By changing the difference between frequencies, you can achieve any state you want.
- Monaural BeatsInstead of the desired frequencies being created inside of the brain, monaural beats work by playing both frequencies in each speaker or channel. This creates an interference pattern that produces the desired frequency outside of your head.
- Isochronic TonesIsochronic tones are single spaced tones that turn on and off in an accurate pattern, increasing the pulse speed, and synchronize your brain with the rhythm.
Personally I am not a big fan of the monaural beats or the isochronic tones. Some people say they are more effective than binaural beats, but I have tried all three and would have to disagree. Plus, there are some downfalls to using these types of brainwave entrainment.
One of the main problems with monaural beats and isochronic tones is that they are unable to induce any brainwave frequencies under 4Hz. This is the low Delta range which is found when we are in a deep sleep or an extremely deep meditative state. There are many effects and benefits of being in this state. This dramatically limits the monaural beats and isochronic tones which is one of the main reasons why you won’t find that many recordings using this technology.
Another problem with monaural beats, and especially with isochronic tones, is that they are extremely harsh on the ears. They are hard to relax and focus on because they are so annoying. Some places add background noise like rain to help the obtrusive sounds, but this distorts the quality and effectiveness of the brainwave entrainment.
If you hate wearing headphones then you might like monaural beats and isochronic tones better because they do not require them but there must be no outside noise or distractions for them to work properly. Although it’s required, I love wearing headphones when listening to binaural beats. It drowns out all outside noise and helps me to stay focused.
Although binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones have all been scientifically researched and proven to work for entraining the brain, I believe that binaural beats are the most effective. Also, binaural beats require both ears, and both sides of the brain to be heard, which is the result of “whole brain functioning.” This cannot be achieved by anything else. But it really depends on your personal preference and the effect you are wanting to produce. Some say they are better, others worse.