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What is i-dosing?

Updated on July 16, 2010

Are kids getting high on digital drugs?

Recent news reports are stating that children are getting "high" on "digital drugs". This is referred to as "i-dosing". The concept involves listening to binaural audiowaves through headphones, which are then purported to induce altered states of consciousness. 

Oklahoma’s Mustang Public School district has taken this so seriously that they recently sent out a letter to parents warning them of the popularity of this practice amongst students at school.

However, there is a lot of contention about these so-called digital drugs and the practice of i-dosing. There have been no reports of actual danger or addiction. In fact, there remains little scientific evidence to even suggest that the practice of i-dosing by using binaural audio even produces any effects. However, there are lots of subjective accounts from people who have tried i-dosing to suggest that there may be some effect.

The issue that the schools, teachers and parents are having with the practice is that they fear it may be a gateway to trying out the real thing.

What are binaural beats?

Scientifically and hypothetically speaking, binaural beats are "auditory brain responses that result from the interaction of two different auditory impulses, originating in opposite ears, below 1000 Hz and which differ in frequency between one and 30 Hz. For example, if a pure tone of 400 Hz is presented to the right ear and a pure tone of 410 Hz is presented simultaneously to the left ear, an amplitude modulated standing wave of 10 Hz - the difference between the two tones - is experienced as the two wave forms mesh in and out of phase." 

This binaural beat is not actually heard, since the human range of hearing is from 20-20,000 Hz, but it is supposedly perceived as an auditory beat and theoretically it is claimed that this beat can be used to manipulate (entrain) your brainwaves into inducing different states of mind.

For example, the different brain waves (Alpha wave · Beta wave · Gamma wave · Delta wave · Theta rhythm) are associated with different states between wakefulness, sleep and dreaming.

The theory behind binaural beats, i-dosing and digital drugs is that listening to these audiowaves could cause your brainwaves to alter into a different state. 

Technically, it would not be a drug-induced hallucination, but perhaps your brain being induced into a dream-like state.


Do binaural beats work?

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Benefits and Criticism


  • There is still scientific argument about the efficacy of binaural beats in inducing different brainwave states
  • It is highly subjective and depends mostly on a person's mood, imagination, brain chemistry and make-up, amongst other things 
  • It could lead people to want to experiment with mind-altering chemicals and drugs, as opposed to these legal i-dosing binaural beats


Binaural tones are purported to help with:

  • Meditation 
  • Sleep
  • Learning
  • Lucid dreaming
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Astral projection
  • Telepathy
  • Visualisation
  • Beneficial hormone production


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