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Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Jan;7(1):58-63.

Use of binaural beat tapes for treatment of anxiety: a pilot study of tape preference and outcomes.

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  • 1Clinique Psyché in Montreal, Quebec.



Recent studies and anecdotal reports suggest that binaural auditory beats can affect mood, performance on vigilance tasks, and anxiety.


To determine whether mildly anxious people would report decreased anxiety after listening daily for 1 month to tapes imbedded with tones that create binaural beats, and whether they would show a definite tape preference among 3 tapes.


A 1-group pre-posttest pilot study.


Patients' homes.


A volunteer sample of 15 mildly anxious patients seen in the Clinique Psyché, Montreal, Quebec.


Participants were asked to listen at least 5 times weekly for 4 weeks to 1 or more of 3 music tapes containing tones that produce binaural beats in the electroencephalogram delta/theta frequency range. Participants also were asked to record tape usage, tape preference, and anxiety ratings in a journal before and after listening to the tape or tapes.


Anxiety ratings before and after tape listening, pre- and post-study State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores, and tape preferences documented in daily journals.


Listening to the binaural beat tapes resulted in a significant reduction in the anxiety score reported daily in patients' diaries. The number of times participants listened to the tapes in 4 weeks ranged from 10 to 17 (an average of 1.4 to 2.4 times per week) for approximately 30 minutes per session. End-of-study tape preferences indicated that slightly more participants preferred tape B, with its pronounced and extended patterns of binaural beats, over tapes A and C. Changes in pre- and posttest listening State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores trended toward a reduction of anxiety, but these differences were not statistically significant.


Listening to binaural beat tapes in the delta/theta electroencephalogram range may be beneficial in reducing mild anxiety. Future studies should account for music preference among participants and include age as a factor in outcomes, incentives to foster tape listening, and a physiologic measure of anxiety reduction. A controlled trial that includes binaural beat tapes as an adjunctive treatment to conventional therapy for mild anxiety may be warranted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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