You are on page 1of 1


Does the presence or absence of a sound affect cold pain endurance? Does the presence of BBs affect cold pain endurance as opposed to other sounds? Are there specific frequencies of BB which offer improved cold pain endurance? Could participants identify if a stimuli was binaural or monaural across conditions? Are there significant correlations for the liking of a sound, subjective pain reduction and time?

Yes. Music is the best type of sound to significantly improve cold pain endurance. BBs show a slight trend at improving cold pain endurance (p = 0.16) against control conditions. There was no main effect of frequency (for BB or MB) in this instance. D scores indicate that identification of stimuli by participants was not possible (D = 0.000) Yes. All correlations are mid (.43) to high (.70) and are significant across all conditions (p < .001)

What are Binaural Beats?


In order to analyse the data across all nine conditions, the data had to be normalised so that each participant could be assessed on according to their own performance. This normalised parametric data was then analysed to determine if any relationships existed between the conditions. A repeated measures ANOVA was used. The data for the total duration that participants kept their hands in the water is shown here.

Binaural Beats (BB) are an auditory phenomena which is subjectively created when a person listens to two pure tones which differ slightly in pitch from each other (Oster, 1973). An interference pattern is created within the brain of the listener who perceives a beating pattern as the sound interferes with itself. It is claimed that this beating effect can influence EEG readings (Kasprzak, 2011).

Why run this study?

In addition, to determine if the participants This study will help to determine the overall effectiveness of BBs in the domain of pain perception, which if successful, may provide an easy, non-evasive method of pain control for use in clinical were able to identify whether a binaural beat or a monaural beat was being performed, their settings. First discovered almost two hundred years ago, BBs have regularly been claimed to assist binaural/monaural binary data was used to calculate their own individual d score which was then averaged across all participants and across both beat conditions, producing a net result of 0.000. with a range of ailments, none of which, so far, have been empirically supported (Dove, 1839).

This study was a randomised, double blind, repeated measures trial with 51 participants (24 male, 25 female, aged between 18 and 63 average age 31). Participants were asked to undergo nine conditions, three of which would be binaural, three perceptually identical monaural conditions and three controls (music, silence and white noise). Participants were instructed to place their arm in a tank of continuously circulating cold water (0C) for as long as possible across all nine conditions. In addition to this, heart rate and blood pressure data was also collected after the completion of every condition. Participants were also asked whether they thought the stimuli was binaural or monaural.

This graph shows a comparison of the (normalised) means across all nine conditions. There is a main effect of condition for a nine way ANOVA F (8,400) = 2.97, p= .003. A 3X2 ANOVA shows no main effect for frequency, BB (only a slight trend, p = .16) and no BB X frequency interaction. A 3 X 1 (condition: M, S, W_N) produces a main effect of condition F (2,100) = 7.36, p = 0.01) due to the longer RT music condition.

Dependent Variables
Timing of hand in water (digitally recorded) Heart Rate Blood Pressure Liking (between 1 and 10) Comfort Level increase (between 1 and 10).

Independent Variables
Detection of stimuli (BB a MB) Beat. Frequency of beat (4Hz, 8Hz, 14Hz). GOLD_MSI score BVS score Anxiety score



Condition Time Liking Pain Reduction Time All .43 .53 Liking .43 Conditions .70 P < .001 Pain Reduction .53

This experiment demonstrates that there is a slight main effect for an auditory intervention for cold pain endurance. However, the effects of music (particularly if the participants favours the music) outweigh any BB effect considerably. There is no main effect for a reduction in perceived pain stimulus at different frequencies of BB. Furthermore, the D scores indicate that participants could not accurately identify when a stimuli was binaural or monaural thus eliminating expectation effects. Further analysis of the remainder of the data may also yield significant effects for the biological data (heart rate and blood pressure) indicating areas for further inquiry. These findings support a previous study conducted on binaural beats and pain endurance. The study demonstrated a significant, positive main effect for the application of binaural beats as a viable alternative to anaesthesia in alleviating pain during surgery (Klienmpt, et al., 2009).

Dove, H. W. (1839). Akustik, Theoretische Optik, Meteorologie. In H. W. Dove, & L. Moser, Repertorium der Physik: Enthaltend eine vollstndige Zusammenstellung. (Vol. 3, pp. 404 - 408). Lausanne, Switzerland.: Veit & Comp. Kasprzak, C. (2011). Influence of Binaural Beats on EEG Signal. Acoustic and Biomedical Engineering, 119, 986-990. Klienmpt, P., Ruta, D., Ogston, S., Landeck, A., & Martay, K. (1999). Hemispheric-synchronisation during anaesthesia: a double-blind randomised trial using audiotapes for intra-operative nociception control. Anaesthesia, 54(8), 769-73. Oster, G. (1973). Auditory Beats in the Brain. Scientific American, 94-102.