There have been decades of research into the use of binaural tones (and more recently, isochronic tones) to alter processes in the brain. When using a headset, these tones can affect the brain’s frequencies to artificially bring about certain mental states. This means that we can use electronic tones to modify our moods from alertness and creativity to relaxation and sleep.
I present to you two generators:
These come with several presets and allow you to experiment to find your own “settings”. The two can be used together for additional effect.
One phenomenon that has been suspected to propagate creativity is known under the name of “binaural beats”, an auditory illusion that can be considered a kind of cognitive or neural entrainment (Vernon, 2009; Turow and Lane, 2011). This phenomenon has encouraged sweeping claims about mind enhancement, and some websites even went as far as calling the illusion a “digital drug”. While binaural beats indeed seem to exert some effect on cognitive functioning and mood (Lane et al., 1998), and on neural firing patterns in the brain (Kuwada et al., 1979; Karino et al., 2006; Pratt et al., 2009; but see Vernon et al., 2012), it is as yet unclear how they do so.
– Source: National Institutes of Health
The study from the above article noted that “binaural beats, and possibly other forms of cognitive entrainment, are not suited for a one-size-fits-all approach, and that individual cognitive-control systems need to be taken into account when studying cognitive enhancement methods”.
Each of us, while often biologically similar, have very unique “programs” that we have developed through environmental experiences. Our brains may respond differently to certain parameters. For example, I am more focused using mid to high Delta frequencies, which are often associated with deep relaxation and sleep. In contrast, the Beta tones typically described as bringing us to a focused, active state simply annoy me.
Ultimately, let yourself decide how you are responding to the tones. It may or may not match the suggested effect. It may even have the opposite effect. What we can be certain of, is that the research has delivered evidence that brain entrainment by the use of electronically generated tones is possible. Personally, I believe humans have been using sound to enter altered states of consciousness for hundreds of thousands of years using drums and other instruments. So while the scientific research into the use of sound to affect the mind is relatively recent, the historical evidence is not.
Auditory Beat Stimulation and its Effects on Cognition and Mood States