The short-term effects of recorded ocean sound with and without alpha frequency binaural beats on tinnitus perception

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Jun:44:291-295. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 8.


Background: The dichotic presentation of two auditory stimuli with a small frequency difference in each ear produces the perception of a third, fused auditory image called a binaural beat. Neural activity has been found to synchronize with these perceived beats. It is for this reason that binaural beats are often used in an attempt to induce certain psychological states that are associated with particular cortical rhythms. The aim of this proof-of-concept study was to explore the short-term effects of a binaural beat on tinnitus, to ascertain if further trials are justified.

Method: Twenty adults with constant tinnitus and symmetrical hearing underwent audiological assessment and psychophysical measures of tinnitus. Participants were presented with two auditory stimuli: ocean waves with and without alpha frequency (8 Hz) binaural beats. Arousal and tinnitus perception were measured prior to and following each sound stimuli using the Perceived Arousal Scale and tinnitus rating scales.

Results: Small improvements in tinnitus rating scores occurred with sound. Some individuals showed more improvement with the binaural beats than ocean waves alone.

Conclusion: The addition of binaural beats at 8 Hz to an ocean sound showed no significant group benefits above the ocean sound alone.

Keywords: Binaural beats; Ocean sounds; Relaxation; Sound therapy; Tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Tape Recording / methods
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*