There is neurochemical evidence indicating that auditory beat stimulation (ABS) has positive effects on cortisol, the stress hormone. ABS involves the use of sound waves to generate combination tones, either as binaural beats (different in each ear) or monaural beats (simultaneously) at various frequencies. Research suggests that ABS serves as a therapeutic tool for anxiety, with the potential to lower anxiety levels.
The study explores the combination of music and ABS to assess their collective impact on anxiety. Participants currently using anxiolytics were randomly exposed to one of four conditions: listening to music alone, ABS alone, a combination of ABS and music, or pink noise (e.g., rain falling, leaves rustling, waves crashing).
Results indicate that both music alone and the combination of music and ABS led to a greater reduction in somatic anxiety (physiological effects of anxiety, such as increased heart rate and sweating) among participants with moderate anxiety. In this group, the combination of ABS and music was associated with a higher increase in positive affect and a greater decrease in negative moods.
Interestingly, the music-alone condition showed a statistically significant (statistical terminology indicating that the result is unlikely to be due to chance alone) higher reduction in both somatic and cognitive anxiety among participants with high anxiety compared to ABS alone. This suggests a potential synergistic effect of combining ABS with music in alleviating negative moods and reducing anxiety.
Mallik A, Russo FA (2022) The effects of music & auditory beat stimulation on anxiety: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE 17(3): e0259312. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259312