The Effect of Binaural Beats on Memory Through the Induction of Gamma Brain Waves

Updated on May 27, 2018

Binaural Beats

The brain is a very powerful and complex organ that seems to have an endless list of functions and potentials with each new discovery. Fascinations with the brain and its functions can be found as far back as Hippocrates and other great historical philosophers. Today, it is known that the brain produces a range of brain wave frequencies with each frequency having its own special function (Franzoi, 2015).

First, it is important to understand the difference between a sound wave and a brain wave. Sound waves are a result of vibrations measured within the moving wave, which can be measured in frequencies These frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz). Brain waves are the waves that are produced by the electrical impulses in the brain, which are also measured in Hz. These electrical impulses occur during the firing of neurons within the brain and are at the root of everything we do, such as communication, behaviors, thinking, and the state of one’s mood. Understanding brain wave frequencies could be a vital piece of information that could benefit the future of medical and psychological tools to aid in the many health problems people face.

Studies have shown that the induction of specific brain wave frequencies can improve anxiety, alertness and attention, behavioral disorders, creativity, memory, moods, and pain by using sound wave frequencies, such as alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and theta (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015; Huang & Charyton, 2008; Lane, Kasian, Owens, & Marsh, 1997; Zampi, 2016). However, the focus of this study is on the gamma brain wave frequencies and its effects on cognition and memory with the use of binaural beats during encoding that will increase memory: this effect will be mediated by an increase in gamma brain wave frequency activity.

In 1839, German physicist and meteorologist, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, unveiled a remarkable phenomenon known as binaural beats. He found that the brain could be tricked into resonating different brain wave frequencies by playing the same pure monotone sound wave frequency dichotically, one in each ear (Oster, 1973). Sound wave frequencies are converted into nerve impulses that travel through the auditory nerve to the brain’s auditory cortex (Yantis & Abrams, 2017). During this course of travel, the auditory nerve fibers cross in the brain’s stem resulting in the sound wave in one ear passing to both, left and right, hemispheric cortices. These auditory cortices are located in the temporal lobes of the brain and is where sound is perceived (Yantis & Abrams, 2017). When using headphones, the brain hears the two different sound wave frequencies and attempts to correct the space between them. Therefore, an illusion is created, which allows the brain to synchronize the specific sound wave frequencies, heard in each ear, into the specific brain wave frequencies being induced through evoked potentials. For example, if an alpha wave is being presented in the right ear at 20 Hz and the left ear is being presented with 30 Hz then the brain will create, or perceive, a third sound wave frequency of 10 Hz to correct the difference. However, the brain perceives the combination of the two sound wave frequencies as one sound wave frequency being heard and not three, which would be the 10 Hz in the previous example. This difference, between the two frequencies being heard, is the space the brain attempts to correct. It is this correction and synchronizing that is known as the binaural beat. The brain does not actually hear the alternating sound wave frequency, but it does adjust to create the difference in those two frequencies as the only sound being heard.

In addition, this phenomenon later caught the attention of biophysicist, Gerald Oster as he was focusing on monaural beats, which is quite similar to binaural beats (Oster, 1973). When using monaural beats, the sound wave frequency is presented in only one ear, but can be recognized by both ears due to the auditory nerve fibers crossing in the brain’s stem, which results in the sound heard in one ear being heard in the other ear. However, Oster’s study suggests that the evoked potentials found produced by the monaural and binaural beats are different and, therefore; they must be processed differently (Oster, 1973). These differences were found in the EEG readings that showed a different electrical reading for binaural beats, which suggests that binaural beats are processed “in another way or at another site” (Oster, p. 100, 1973).

Brain Wave Frequencies During Sleep Stages

The neurological understanding of brain waves is an imperative part of our daily lives because each one plays an important role in how we function while both awake and asleep. The four most notable of these brain wave oscillations are the beta, alpha, theta and delta. Oscillations are distinguished by their amplitude and phase (Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). Neurophysiologist, Hans Berger, proposed the use of the Greek letters alpha and beta in regards to brain waves that are “the larger amplitude rhythmic patterns below 12 Hz and the lower amplitude faster than 12 Hz patterns, respectively” (Buzsáki & Wang, 2014, p.205). The beta brain waves are essential for one’s alertness and state of awareness, and have a frequency of 12-30 Hz (Franzoi, 2015). These brain waves are active while we are awake, which produce extremely fast, but low-amplitude brain waves (Franzoi, 2015; Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch,2005). The alpha waves are also associated with one’s wakeful state, and have a frequency of 8-12 Hz. However, alpha waves are produced during the more relaxed, peaceful, and calm wakeful state. The alpha waves produce a “fast, low-amplitude brain wave” (Franzoi, 2015, p. 208; Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). These brain wave frequencies can be induced through the use of binaural beats, which can be beneficial to the brain’s activity because it can provide an effective and safe way of inducing awareness and alertness.

In addition, the alpha brain waves are usually associated with entering the first stage of one’s sleep cycle; moreover, the person is still awake, but drowsy, which causes fast, low-amplitude brain waves to slow down (Franzoi, 2015; Pinel 2014). During sleep, the brain cycles through several stages until one awakens. Each stage of sleep consists of different brain wave activity. The first four stages of sleep are known as the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage of sleep, and; the fifth stage is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is the stage of sleep where dreams occur and is also known as “active sleep” (Franzoi, 2015, p. 210). The theta brain waves occur during the sleep stage cycles 2 and 3 with stage 2 presenting sleep spindles (Franzoi, 2015). Theta brain waves occur after the alpha brain waves, and as one has entered stage 1 sleep, also known as the hypnogogic state. Theta waves are accelerated, yet are slower, which cause the heart rate and breathing to slow down, and have a frequency of 4-8 Hz. This is the lightest stage of sleep so the waves are low-amplitude, but quite irregular (Franzoi, 2015; Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). The fourth notable brain waves are the delta waves, which are associated with the NREM stages of sleep, and have a frequency of 0-4 Hz. Delta waves begin to present themselves in stage 3 of the sleep cycle. However, delta waves are more prominent in stage 4 sleep, which is the deepest and most important stage of sleep because, “this deep sleep promotes new cell growth by triggering the pituitary gland to release a growth hormone” (Franzoi, 2015, p. 211; Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). Since it is recognized that each brain wave frequency can be induced through binaural beats, it is possible that the binaural beats could have an effect on the promotion of new cell growth.

Source

Gamma Waves

In addition, there is another type of brain wave, the gamma waves, that is

not widely presented in textbooks when addressing the different types of brain wave activities because it is just now being recognized and studied. Gamma waves have been recognized as correlating with higher brain functions (Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). These are rhythms that have been detected in several regions of the brain during sleep states and while one is awake (Buzsáki & Wang, 2014). Some of the notable regions of the brain that have presented gamma oscillations are the amygdala, hippocampus, striatum, olfactory bulb, and the thalamus (Buzsáki & Wang, 2014). While gamma waves have shown to have a frequency of 30-80 Hz, they have been observed at a much higher Hz (Buzsáki & Wang, 2014; Herrmann, Grigutsch & Busch, 2005). Higher frequencies may create a higher brain function for the regions of the brain that present gamma oscillations. Furthermore, since each region of the brain has its own function, the gamma oscillations could evoke stronger abilities for the brain region presenting the gamma oscillations.

Gamma Waves and Sleep

It is known that sleep is important for one’s health and stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle are essential for the body to heal itself and recover from the day. Gamma oscillations have been found during slow-wave sleep (SWS); however, gamma activity was found to be at its highest during rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep and during wakefulness (Valderrama et al., 2012). SWS occurs after the REM stage of sleep and in the NREM stage of sleep. NREM are stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle, and the combination of the two are what is known as the SWS (Pinel, 2014). As discussed earlier, these stages produce the delta and theta brain wave frequencies, with delta waves being most prominent in stage 4. A study using an EEG, during sleep studies, found that gamma oscillations were found to be strongly presented in the frontal and cortical regions of the brain. Furthermore, gamma bursts were characterized by high (60-120 Hz) and low (30-50 Hz) frequency bands, which identified different patterns of phasic activation, which occurs as the brain enters each phase, or stage of sleep. When questioning the function of the gamma patterns, the authors noted, “…observations of gamma during SWS are very similar to gamma responses induced by a variety of waking tasks reflecting an increased alertness” (Valderrama et al., 2012, p. 10). These finding may present a better understanding as to why the evoking of gamma wave frequencies produce a more focused and attentive state of mind. In addition, it may provide a better understanding of the brain’s activity during sleep when gamma brain waves are produced.

Gamma Waves and Meditation

Meditation has proved to be an effective technique in certain psychological aspects of clearing and healing of the mind. There have been a multitude of studies that show these effects are beneficial to one’s state of mind and have possible physical benefits as well. Some of the most intriguing studies have been on the mediations performed by monks. Although most monks have years of experience, those studies provide significant evidence of how their altered states of mind can change their mental processing. One study examined the mediation of practitioners of three different groups, separating them from their type of meditation traditions: Vipassana, Himalayan Yoga, and Isha Shoonya. Each meditation tradition has a unique way of how they enter and practice their meditation. The study used an EEG while the participants were in their meditative states. They hypothesized that they would see an increase in gamma brain waves during the meditation of the practitioners compared to a control group that were considered naive meditators. The results indicated that gamma brain waves were more likely to occur, with an increase of 60-110 Hz into the practitioners with traditional meditation experiences (Braboszcz, Cahn, Levy, Fernandez, & Delorme, 2016). These findings indicate that gamma brain waves provide the ability for greater mindfulness that is experienced by professional meditators. Although the meditators were able to reach the gamma brain waves on their own, it does provide some insight on the value one may have by experiencing gamma brain waves, and; with the use of binaural beats, gamma brain waves can be induced by the external stimulus of gamma sound waves.

In addition, in a 2011 study, an examination of meditation, with an EEG, with and without binaural beats and; furthermore, the binaural beats were an attempt to hinder the meditation process. However, all participants were instructed to wear headphones allowing subjects to blind to their conditions. Furthermore, participants were recruited from specific groups with each having experienced mindfulness meditation techniques. Interestingly, the more experienced meditators were able to block out the hindering binaural beats while the less experienced meditators revealed interference through the EEG readings (Lavallee, Koren, & Persinger, 2011).

Gamma Waves and Memory

One particular observation of gamma brain wave frequencies is the ability to retain information. This may also be connected to the fact that gamma brain waves induce mindfulness, increased awareness, an increased alertness, and a pronounced meditative. There are two types of memory: working memory and long-term memory. The working memory, formally known as short-term memory, is the information that is being taken in and processed at a given moment (Howard et al., 2003). Long-term memory is the information placed in a storage that contains the knowledge one has acquired and their memories (Howard et al., 2003). Long-term memories are not active, but can be activated, which is then placed in the working memory while the information is being used (Howard et al., 2003). In addition, the amount of information being obtained is referred to as the memory load. One study presented evidence that theta brain waves are noticeable at the beginning of a given task, but return to a baseline once a response has been given (Howard et al., 2003). It was noted that theta brain waves were part of the working memory (Howard et al., 2003). Since theta brain waves are presented just before reaching a deep sleep, this may indicate that the relaxed mind is unable to obtain any amount of information for more than a short time while using the working memory. However, there is evidence that gamma oscillations can help maintain information being held for a longer amount of time when a delay in using the information is presented (Howard et al., 2003).

Another study examined the retention interval of long lists of words with shorts lists of words to examine the working memory load with the use of an EEG. The study found that the gamma brain waves were greater with the larger memory load (Howard et al., 2003). It was also noted that after the information was no longer needed, the gamma brain waves were reduced back to a baseline level (Howard et al., 2003). If the gamma oscillation is produced naturally during larger memory loads, then it may also be used in the working memory because the working memory can produce an overload of information while trying to remember several things at one time. By evoking an external stimulus of binaural beats to induce gamma wave frequencies, it could increase the understanding of how and where in the working memory that the gamma oscillations work.

Moreover, a similar study using a list of novel items, during the examination of short-term memory recognized that the items being presented in such tasks have a potential of already existing in the long-term memory storage. It was noted that this could cause a potential interaction between the working memory and the long-term memory (Jensen & Lisman, 1996). Consequently, the authors made the decision to create a new study to focus on the possible interaction and the dual gamma/theta oscillations (Jensen & Lisman, 1996). Dual gamma/theta oscillations are when the two brain wave frequencies oscillate back and forth from gamma to theta waves. It is interesting that they consider a dual oscillation between the two frequencies since theta waves are presented at a much lower frequency than the gamma frequency. This suggests that there must be frequency burst between the two allowing one to be relaxed enough to think, yet, focused enough to retrieve the correct memory. Likewise, the results of the study indicated that spikes of both theta waves and gamma waves were presented, in cycles, during the firing of cells while accessing the short-term or overlapping long-term memory items (Jensen & Lisman, 1996). Although this study was unable to conclude a potential interaction between the working memory and the long-term memory through the observation of the alternating brain spikes of theta and gamma brain wave frequencies, it does offer insight on how the two frequencies work together through cycles while trying to work through the memory process.

Visuospatial tasks use the working memory during the visually perceived objects and the spatial relationships among objects. A study using visuospatial tasks examined the accuracy of the participants to complete the task while listening to a pure tone, classical music, binaural beats of theta (5 Hz), alpha (10 Hz), beta (15 Hz) sound waves, or none. The results revealed that the beta sound wave frequency increased the amount of accuracy for the visuospatial task with a 3% increase, while all the other tones created a decrease in accuracy (Beauchene, Abaid, Moran, Diana, & Leonessa, 2016). Considering, beta brain wave frequencies create increased awareness and alertness, it is understandable that these are the results found. However, the amount of increase in accuracy was not by much. Although, gamma waves were not presented in this study, it does show that an increase in frequencies revealed and increase in accuracy and, therefore; the use of binaural beats to induce gamma brain waves should be further investigated to see if a higher brain function can be produced and have an effect visuospatial tasks.

Interestingly, gamma oscillations have been observed in both humans and animals. In addition, those studies were the observation of natural gamma brain wave activity. Rather than observing the effects on the physiological and psychological aspects, the focus was on visual stimuli in association with feature binding, or how one chooses the attention to perceive the features of certain objects. Gamma brain waves with feature binding was observed by synchronous firing of neurons in cat’s visual cortex (Herrmann, Munk & Engel, 2004). It was noted in a 2004 study that “Visual stimuli evoke largest early gamma responses if they are of sufficient size” (Herrmann, Munk & Engel, p. 347, 2004). Whether one is accessing information from their short-term memory or their long-term memory, it seems a visual context would be presented in the mind while trying to retrieve the information. Moreover, this could indicate the spikes in gamma brain waves found in the Jensen and Lisman study as the participants attempted to recall information. Furthermore, the 2004 study indicate that attentional selection of sensory information intensifies the gamma waves. The study also suggested that there are “late” gamma wave activities and “early” gamma wave activities. The “late” gamma wave activities appear to be associated with the bottom-up processes (methods motivated by information in the stimulus input) in relation to memory while “early” gamma wave activities are associated with the top-down process (process controlled by expectations and prior knowledge) (Herrmann, Munk & Engel, 2004). There are many aspects that gamma wave can be related to memory and, possibly, the combinations of gamma waves and other frequencies. However, most of the evidence appears to provide a promising future for the continued research between the gamma wave and memory connections.

Psychological States

There have been of number of studies to show a significant correlation on the effect of certain psychological states with the use of binaural beats to induce specific brain wave activities. The binaural beats can be used as an external stimulus that can induce certain brain waves and change or strengthen one’s own thought processes; therefore, changing the brain wave activity. Furthermore, such studies have discussed, in their reviews, the functions in cognitive operations and diseases through a biological process produced by the induction of gamma oscillations (Buzsáki & Wang, 2014). These gamma brain waves can be induced by the binaural beats with the use of gamma sound waves.

Creativity

Since alpha waves are associated with one’s wakeful and calm, relaxing state, it could help generate creative thinking. In one study, a positive effect, in producing greater creativity, was found by using binaural beats to induce both alpha and gamma brain wave frequencies (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). It is unclear whether the brain waves were induced simultaneously by producing an alpha wave in one ear and a gamma wave in the other ear, but the fact that gamma waves were involved offers some indication that the gamma wave frequency may have helped stimulate the increased creativity.

Behavior, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities

In a pilot study to examine the effects of binaural beats on children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), no significant change was found on attention, but some participants reported having fewer problems associated with distractions in the course of the study (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). Unfortunately, the specific type of brain waves used was not presented in the information. However, another study examined children with ADHD or a learning disability, which used beta sound wave frequencies, which produce alertness and state of awareness. They found a significant improvement in the children’s attention (Huang & Charyton, 2008). In addition, another study used beta sound wave frequencies to assess the behavior of children with ADHD and their parents’ report on the child’s behavior. Their study found a 70% improvement on the child’s behavior after 15 sessions of listening to binaural beats (Huang & Charyton, 2008). These studies provide novel insight on how effective binaural beats can be on children with certain behavioral disorders.

Anxiety

There are two types of anxiety: state anxiety and trait anxiety. State anxiety is experienced when a threat is perceived within a situation. Trait anxiety is a term used to separate the differences between people based on the amount of time they spend in a state of anxiety, or their tendencies to experience state anxiety. One study attempted to use binaural beats to decrease these two types of anxiety (Huang & Charyton, 2008). In this study, a delta wave frequency and a combination of delta and theta wave frequencies. The state trait group were presented with the delta wave frequency and a 26.3% decline in anxiety was reported. Furthermore, the trait anxiety group was presented with the delta and theta range of sound wave frequencies, which showed a significant reduction in their trait anxiety scores (Huang & Charyton, 2008). Since delta waves slow down the heart rate and breathing and theta deep sleep, it makes sense that these frequencies could decrease anxiety.

Mood States

Anxiety would be considered a mood, but is the state of a mood because one becomes anxious during certain situations, which is considered a state anxiety. Therefore, when attempting to measure one’s mood, one would need to measure mood through their specific states such as, a depressed state, angered state, relaxed state, or a tired state to determine whether their state of mood has changed. Two studies were executed that attempted to assess the changes in these mood states by using binaural beats (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). These studies used theta and delta sound wave frequencies. Participants listened to either the delta frequencies daily for 60 days or a one-time 30-minute session of theta. In their self-reports, the participants that listened to the delta wave frequencies reported a decrease in their overall complete mood disturbances and a decrease in their mood states of anxiety, confusion, and fatigue (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). The participants also reported having a reduction in tension. Furthermore, the participants that were exposed to the one-time 30-minute session of theta wave frequencies, reported an increase of depression (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). It is not understood why the one-time session would increase a depressed mood, but inducing theta wave frequencies seems to show that it can alter one’s overall thought process or mood state. It is possible that there may have been have been due some external reason such as hearing loss.

In a 1997 study at the Duke University Medical Center, binaural beats were used in a similar study using delta and theta wave frequencies; however, they included a beta wave frequency as well. This study suggested that a decrease in negative moods was associated with the induction of beta sound wave frequencies through binaural beats (Lane, Kasian, Owens, & Marsh, 1997). Since beta brain waves produce alertness and a greater state of awareness, it could explain the reason for the decrease in negative moods because their decrease of energy, thoughts and emotions found in depression would be altered by the evoked enhancement in their state of alertness and awareness.

Alertness and Attention

In addition delta and theta sound waves, vigilance has been studied with the use of beta and theta sound wave frequencies. Vigilance is being able to sustain alertness and attention to stimuli for extended amounts of time. A study using the Five Factor Model to assess personality traits for vigilance used both theta and beta sound wave frequencies (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). The study’s hypothesis was that the beta sound wave frequencies would increase the levels of vigilance while performing computer tested tasks that required alertness and attention. While an EEG was used during the participant’s performance, there were no significant differences found in the scoring of the trait categories and the effects, from theta and beta frequencies, on their vigilance or their personality traits (Chaieb, Wilpert, Reber, & Fell, 2015). In contrast, the 1997 study at Duke University Medical Center also examined the effects of binaural beats on vigilance. They used theta/delta sound wave frequencies in comparison to beta sound wave frequencies; however, they used psychomotor tasks to assess their participants. Their study concluded that the use of beta sound wave frequencies did improve vigilant task performances (Lane, Kaisan, Owens, & Marsh, 1997). Although the two studies show a contradiction within their findings, it is apparent that they used different types of tasks to measure performance, which may explain why the beta sound wave frequencies worked for one and not the other. Since beta brain waves are presented during an alert and awake stage, it could explain why the Duke University Medical Center’s study showed an improvement in psychomotor tasks.

Pain

While creativity, mood states, anxiety, behavior, and attention are all eminent areas to focus on when using binaural beats, pain may be the more profound area of study. In a 2016 study, binaural beats was used in the induction of theta wave frequencies and were tested on the treatment for chronic pain. The study hypothesized that an external audio protocol of theta binaural beats would reduce the patient’s perceived pain severity. Furthermore, the participants enrolled in the study suffered from “…migraine headaches, back pain, lower-back pain, fibromyalgia, lower-spinal birth defects, sciatica, myofascial pain, neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, joint aches, and intestinal pain for more than 6 months” (Zampi, 2016, 36). The result revealed a 77% reduction in perceived pain severity with the use of the theta wave frequencies compared to the placebo effect, or sham intervention (Zampi, 2016). The sham intervention used only one the steady frequency of 300 Hz while the other participants received different, multiple frequencies. There seems to be a wide variety of studies that have used the binaural technique to intervene with pain. They have shown to be effective in the treatment of short-term acute pain. (Zampi, 2016). This appears to be a promising direction for the future of pain management. Chronic pain has become an epidemic in the United States where more people are having to take pain medications and resort to pain management for assistance with their chronic pain. The sound waves of theta may be why the binaural beats help reduce pain because theta brain waves occur during the 1st stage of the sleep cycle, which may cause the participants to feel more relaxed as if they were about to fall asleep.

Limitations

Although there are a ton studies on binaural beats and gamma wave frequencies, there are many discrepancies between some of the studies. It’s possible that these inconsistencies are due to their limitations. One concern found within several studies is the closeness of the delta oscillations with the gamma oscillations. It is possible that they are interacting in a negative way and causing an interference with the results. Furthermore, it is possible that the two are intended to work together for certain types of brain functions. Either way, the two need to be taken into consideration during future studies, especially when examining memory because the two brain waves seem to naturally work together during certain activities. Another noticeable limitation during the study of memory is how long-term memory is measured. Some studies tend to use recall from childhood experiences as a determination of how well their long term memory is. This technique is not very reliable because the memory begins to decay over time as well as become distorted in its accuracy. When measuring long-term memory, it should consist of a longitudinal study where the participant either checks in and reports experiences throughout the study or keeps a record to turn in at the end of the study where the experimenter questions the participant on their past experiences. A third limitation is found in the use of the binaural beats for memory. Most of the studies found using binaural beats during the examination of memory focused on using alpha, beta, or theta sound wave frequencies. Gamma sound/brain wave frequencies seem to be the most reasonable frequency to use because it seems to be a more positively related source in helping with many psychological and physiological effects. In addition, binaural beats should be used as the source used to evoke the gamma brain wave frequencies. Future research should focus on the induction of gamma brain waves with patients with brain damage to see if it can provoke neuroplasticity in the hippocampus for memory purpose.

Discussion

There seems to be enough reliable evidence to show that binaural beats can be a very useful technique and have revealed positive effects on creativity, behavior, ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety, mood states, alertness and attention, and pain. In addition gamma wave frequencies are found in SWS, which is presented in the most important stages of sleep, which allows the body to heal itself and reboot the mind from the preceding day. Since gamma wave frequencies are found in those important stages, then gamma wave frequencies could provide the same effect on the body and mind during the awakened state as presented in the studies concerning psychological and physiological problems. Meditation has also been found to be the key to a more relaxed and focused lifestyle as presented in the study of the monks, where the gamma wave frequencies be natural created during the practice of altering the state of mind, and being able to block environmental stimuli. Lastly, an important focus for binaural beats is the ability to induce gamma wave frequencies to increase the memory load and improve short-term and long-term memory.

Why do we need to focus on applied research concerning binaural beats and the induction of gamma waves? There are many answers to this question, but the most important reason would be to help people suffering from psychological and physiological issues. According to Donna Zampi, PhD and the National Institutes of Health, “In 2011, chronic pain affected from approximately 10% to >50% of the adult population in the United States, with a cost of $61 billion to US businesses annually” (Zampi, p. 32, 2016). While application of binaural beats in a medical setting would be a great start in healing people, it may not be for everyone. There is obviously a lot of research that can be found, but it tends to only be research and not applied to the real world scenarios. Furthermore, there does not seem to be many people that have even heard of binaural beats or gamma waves. They definitely are not talked about, considered, or used in medical settings as a general practice. Experimental studies are great and provide continuous knowledge, but the knowledge should be put to good use. With the amount of significant data for psychological applications, there is no reasonable reason for the lack of practical and applied uses within the psychological field.

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