Ecstasy in Your Ear: 3 Apps for Binaural Beats

Good news for i-dosers on the run: There’s a bunch of great apps for binaural beats and isochronic tones, so you can take your dose on the go. A lot of you will already know that the actual experience of brainwave entrainment is not dramatic (Gates of Hades? I don’t think so). It’s much less likely to give you a buzz than a strong coffee or a snort of snuff might. But use over time, like anything, can help habituate you to altered states of consciousness—or, more importantly, help you to become skillful in the practice of altering your own states of consciousness.

Binaural beats use two different frequencies (one for the left ear, one for the right—which is why their use requires headphones) to produce the illusion of a third frequency. For example, if you hear a 20hz pulse in one ear, and a 30hz pulse in the other, it sounds like you’re hearing a 10hz beat.

Isochronic tones just give you the straight frequency. Listening to either is said to help your brain “entrain” or move toward and synch up with the given frequency. In this way you can nudge yourself into alpha waves, theta waves, or whatever the day calls for.