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Binaural beat training?
#2982113 05/21/20 10:49 AM
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Last night I got curious and wondered what would happen if I played 440 hertz in one ear and 435 hertz in the other. I knew sound waves interact with each other outside the brain to make beats but I wanted to know what the brain does with the info from sound waves if heard separately in each ear. I was surprised to hear beats. I looked up online how this is possible. It was discovered in 1839, but not really understood until the 1970s and is still mysterious. They are called binaural beats. I found it very interesting that the brain’s ability to make binaural beats is influenced by hormones and that the inability of the brain to make binaural beats could be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease.

I am wondering if exercising the part of the brain that makes binaural beats might help improve my aural tuning ability. I have no idea, but I’m going to try and see what happens. Hopefully it won’t break my brain more than it already is.

Last edited by TimM_980; 05/21/20 10:52 AM.
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Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982144 05/21/20 11:35 AM
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I'm not sure about the mechanism that produces these beats. I just tried an experiment. I places some good headphones on my head. Not on my ears, but my head. One cup was pressed to the back of my head and the other was pressed to the top of the head. The sound I heard was very muffled, but I still heard it. That means there is some sound conduction through the bones of the head itself to the ears. So if there are two tones playing in headphones on each ear, it is possible that some of the sound from the right cup gets conducted to the left ear, and some of the sound from the left cup gets conducted to the right ear. Therefore some ordinary mixing or beating can occur, even with good headphones. It is very hard to be sure that each ear is receiving only the one tone, and therefore that the beat is created in the brain.

Another test which I was not able to do would be to find someone who is totally deaf in one ear and then play some sound in the deaf ear and see if it can be heard in the good ear. If so, then binaural beats might be created in the normal way, and not through some novel brain processing.


Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982158 05/21/20 12:08 PM
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I thought that at first. I used earbuds.. So I lowered the volume as far as I could to eliminate any kind of resonance that might be occurring. And the beats were still very clear, but I was still skeptical it might be vibrations in bones or something. So i did a google search and saw there are tons of studies on the topic of binaural beats.

I was trying to read this article but it is way over my head. in the introduction section of the article it goes over all kinds of brain scans and studies to understand how the brain makes binaural beats.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00557/full

Last edited by TimM_980; 05/21/20 12:14 PM.
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982168 05/21/20 12:26 PM
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This illustrates the mechanisms behind it.


[Linked Image]

Last edited by TimM_980; 05/21/20 12:27 PM.
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982189 05/21/20 01:32 PM
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OK, try this. Go to http://onlinetonegenerator.com/binauralbeats.html

And set the generator for 800 Hz in the left ear and 802 Hz in the right ear and play. Now take both of the cups on your headphones and place them by one ear so the beats mix acoustically. It seemed to me that when they mix acoustically I can count the beats, no matter how slow they are. But when the two tones go into separate ears, I cannot.

However when I raise the difference frequency to 20 Hz (800 & 820), I do perceive a binaural beat. This leads me to believe that the mechanism for forming binarual beats is not equivalent to what we hear with acoustic mixing, where we can easily count beats down to one beat in 10 seconds. See if you can "count" very slow binaural beats.


Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982210 05/21/20 02:24 PM
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For me I hear a gradient that swells up and down about around 1/2 beat to 1 bps when set at 800 and 802, but occasionally will speed up and go to a clear 2bps for brief moments the longer I listen to it with the headphones on. When I take the headphones off the acoustic beats are very clear and distinct (not murky like the binaural beats).

Seems like an intriguing study to undertake for a scientist to see how different people process and perceive binaural beats.

I wonder if the binaural and acoustic beat processing mechanisms of the brain are not exclusive/distinct mechanisms. Maybe they might have some crossover stuff going on since they share the same pathways. It could be when people listen to acoustic beats the binaural mechanisms can sometimes be activated and make things murky. Could be one of the reasons why aural tuning takes so long to master. I think if that is true it is a good reason to use an electronic tuning aid- like your TuneLab!! Lol

Last edited by TimM_980; 05/21/20 02:24 PM.
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982329 05/21/20 09:42 PM
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Interesting topic. But IMO you might not want to delve more deeper.
Rather I would suggest tuning the interval just first to your reference note and then adjust for the required beat. IMO, beats are more easily recognized when beat rate is changing.

Re: Binaural beat training?
Robert Scott #2982430 05/22/20 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert Scott

Interesting. I need at least 5 beats/s to perceive them binaural.


excuse my bad english, I'm not native. Corrections are always welcome!
Re: Binaural beat training?
TimM_980 #2982639 05/22/20 09:47 PM
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I hear the beats clearly, however they are not of the same "nature" as beats in strings.


The brain is integral to our entire perception of sound. Many think they hear with their ears when in fact they actually hear with their brain...the ears are "simply" collectors of information which is then processed by the brain and interpreted based on what we have already learned or been exposed to.

If you take a group of sounds (ANY sounds of anything) and split each different sound up into its respective partials (harmonics), each respective partial of each sound will sound exactly alike, IOW the first partial of a dog bark will sound the same as the first partial of a vacuum cleaner...the second partial of each will likewise sound exactly alike...same for each respective partial of each sound. However, when you add all the partials together in their respective amplitudes your brain "hears" a dog bark, or a vacuum cleaner, or a broom sweep, or fingernails on a chalkboard...etc. Even though ALL the respective partials of each sound (when separate) sound the same. It's all done inside the magnificent brain.

Amazing.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8

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