Short Term Exposure to Binaural Beats Adversely Affects Learning and Memory in Rats

S M J Mortazavi, S M Zahraei-Moghadam, S Masoumi, A Rafati, M Haghani, S A R Mortazavi, M Zehtabian


Background: Binaural beats (binaural tones) are sound waves created by specific physical stimuli which are believed to induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other forms of desirable mental states. To experience the binaural beats perception, a sound file should be listened using headphones. The difference in frequencies of each tone (e.g. f1 Hz in right ear and f2 Hz in left ear would make the binaural beats at a frequency of |f1-f2| Hz). Interestingly, binaural beats have been compared with illegal narcotics, and there are warnings that interest in binaural beats can lead to drug use. Current data on the ability of binaural beats to alter consciousness are still controversial.

Objective: This study was aimed at investigating the effect of binaural beats on the memory.

Material and Methods: In this study, 36 Sprague Dawley rats were divided into 4 groups of nine animals each. A shuttle box apparatus was used for the passive avoidance learning and memory study. Twenty-four hr after training, the memory retention test was performed and animals were placed in the light compartment, then the door was opened and the step-through latency (STL) to enter to the dark compartment was measured. Animals in the exposure group were firstly exposed to binaural beats for 10 min (Exp1), 35 min (Exp2) and 75 min (15+25+35 min) (Exp3) before memory test.

Results: Findings of this study showed that both STL time and the number of crossings were significantly affected by binaural beats. The STL time in Cont, Exp1, Exp2 and Exp3 groups were 132.22 ±126.14, 47.88±102.73, 27±20.45, 53.00±69.81 sec, respectively (P=0.017). The number of crossing in Cont, Exp1, Exp2 and Exp3 groups were 1.33±1.32, 5.25±3.77, 4.38±2.67, 5.78±3.93 times, respectively (P=0.02).

Conclusion: It can be concluded that short term exposure to binaural beats adversely affects learning and memory in rat.


Binaural Beats, Binaural Tones, Sound, Learning, Memory

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