Binaural Beats vs Isochronic Tones: Which is Better?

If you've landed here then you must be familiar with the benefits of listening to sound frequencies.  Isochronic tones and binaural beats are powerful sound frequencies that can help alter your brainwave states, improve mental and physical health and intensify spiritual practices like meditation, breathwork and yoga. But how do they differ and which is better? Let's explore.

    What are Isochronic Tones?

    Isochronic tones activate certain brainwave activity by using a single tone that is pulsed on and off in a specific pattern. When you listen to these tones, both hemispheres of the brain sync up with its pulsing rhythm. It's quick and rhythmic and hits on evenly space intervals. When you brain syncs with the tones that resonate at a certain frequency it induces a shift in your brainwave state.

    What are Binaural Beats?

    Binaural beats work by sending two different frequencies simultaneously into each ear. The brain can’t differentiate these tones and thereby creates a third tone by finding the mathematical difference. For example if you are listening to a tone of 100 Hz in your left ear and 130 Hz in your right ear, your brain will perceive the difference between the frequencies at a beat of 30 Hz. 

    Do they Change your Brainwave State?

    There are 5 main frequencies of the brain that you can tap into using isochronic tones and binaural beats. We generally cycle through each of these frequencies in a 24 hours cycle based on our circadian rhythm. It is beneficial, however to access these altered states of mind during specific times of your day. You can use frequencies in different ranges to reach your desired mind state. The 5 main brainwave frequencies are: 

    1. Delta (0Hz-3Hz) - Deep Sleep, Lucid Dreaming
    2. Theta (4Hz-7Hz) - Meditation, Relaxation, Visualisation
    3. Alpha (8Hz-12Hz) - Learning, Reading, Studying
    4. Beta (13Hz-25Hz) - Memory, Retention, Alertness
    5. Gamma (<25Hz) - Peak Performance, Awareness  

    Lower frequencies like Delta and Theta are associated with sleep and inducing a state of calm. These are perfect to listen to before bed, while doing yoga or for any spiritual practice. The intermediary Alpha state should be used when you're ready to absorb new information. This will help you concentrate and retain information. If you need to focus, then higher frequency brain wave states like Beta and Gamma will play to your favour. These frequencies will help to make you more alert, attentive and active.

    What’s the Difference Between Isochronic Tones & Binaural Beats?

    The core difference between isochronic tones and binaural beats is the the technique used to reach a desired frequency. Each technique is a completely different experience. Isochronic tones are quite harsh on the ear and a little more challenging to listen to. Binaural beats on the other hand can be quite pleasant. Here are the major differences between both sound frequencies.

    Isochronic Tones

    • Single tone
    • Stops and starts in equal intervals
    • Does not require headphones

    Binaural Beats

    • Two tone frequencies used at once
    • Continuous
    • Does require headphones

    Benefits of Isochronic Tones & Binaural Beats

    Isochronic tones and binaural beats have the power to activate different brain centres. Each of the tones can be used for different purposes and have different health benefits including:

    • Improved sleep
    • Reduced tress
    • Lower anxiety
    • Alleviating stress
    • Enhancing mood
    • Increased memory retention
    • Better focus

    The audio stimulates the brain by tapping into certain frequencies that are otherwise difficult to reach. When used in culmination with spiritual practices like meditation, breathwork, affirmations or shadow work this altered calm state may help to facilitate a transcendental and healing states.

    Are Isochronic Tones or Binaural Beats Better?

    Some claim to prefer isochronic tones and others believe that binaural beats are more effective. There is no right answer, as it's quite subjective and everyone perceives the experience differently.

    Binaural beats may have a slight edge, in that they have more proven scientific evidence readily available and provide a full spectrum of frequency. Binaural beats are also much more pleasant and relaxing to listen to, where Isochronic tones can sometimes feel quite harsh and challenging on the ear.

    Final Thoughts

    It's incredible to think that merely listening to sound frequencies could have such an impact on your mind state. Isochronic tones and binaural beats are powerful tools to add to your self-care toolbox.

    Though they are different there are benefits to trying both. If you're interested in trying these techniques out, have fun exploring and enjoy the mind-bending awesomeness of these frequencies. 

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    Author Bio

    I went into the field of neuroscience not realising the profound connection between science, spirituality and ancient tradition. I share some fascinating connections between science and spirituality that will hopefully shift your perspective on what it means to be spiritual.