Effectiveness of Binaural Beats in Music from The TENG Ensemble in Relieving Stress in Singapore University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial
reportposted on 13.01.2022, 14:19 authored by Kay Chai Peter TayKay Chai Peter Tay, Jia Lin Cherie Chia, Yeow Hing Bradley Lam, Soo Inn Fidessa Ng, Chu Hui Pang
Binaural beats therapy is an emerging form of sound wave therapy with a range of reported psychological benefits. In the current study, musicians from the TENG Ensemble produced a novel audio track by incorporating a dynamic progression of binaural beats from theta to delta waves in instrumental music and the researchers investigated the effect of this music on psychological stress and physiological arousal. We predicted that listening to TENG music with binaural beats leads to beneficial psychological and physiological changes compared to listening to the same piece of music without binaural beats or an audiobook. One hundred and fifty-one university students participated in the study and were randomized to listen to TENG music with binaural beats (n=52), TENG music without binaural beats (n=52), or audiobook (n=47) for thirty minutes. Of which, thirty-two participants underwent physiologic measurement; they listened to TENG music with binaural beats (n=10), TENG music without binaural beats (n=12), or an audiobook (n=10). All participants answered sociodemographic and psychologic questions before and after listening to the soundtracks. The current study revealed that participants who listened to TENG music with binaural beats reported lower state-anxiety compared to those who listened to the audiobook. Further analyses on a segment of the sample revealed that these observations may be specific to participants who reported the highest state anxiety at the beginning of the session. Similarly for physiological measurement, increased arousal as indicated by skin conductance and greater heart rate variability was observed among high state anxiety participants when they listened to TENG music with binaural beats. This pattern was also observed among participants who reported low positive affect before listening to the soundtracks. One caveat being that the sample sizes for the physiological data were small. In addition, we found that participants who listened to TENG music with binaural beats reported that they were more likely to listen to Chinese music to relieve stress related to studying compared to those who listened to TENG music without binaural beats, and several participants indicated that the headphones were uncomfortable. Taken together, the current study suggests that TENG music with binaural beats may have some anxiolytic effect in terms of lowering subjective perception of anxiety and stimulating physiological changes as indicated by skin conductance reactivity at least among individuals who initially experienced high levels of state anxiety. In addition, experience associated with listening to binaural beats music could potentially be enhanced by using headphones that are more comfortable (e.g., less bulky) and listening to binaural beats music in an environment that facilitates the lowering of anxiety while heightening positive affect.