If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may have come across videos of ADHD and neurodivergent people blind reacting to an 8D audio version of the “I’ve Got a Record Player” song. The idea is that the ADHD and neurodivergent community reacts to this immersive type of audio differently than neurotypicals do.
ADHD makes it difficult to focus and autism can cause sensory overwhelm. But people are reporting that 8-dimensional (8D) audio helps with both.
This type of audio isn’t just for neurodivergent listeners. Anyone can experience relaxation, stress relief, and a mood boost from 8D audio. Audiophiles who have shelled out for a high-quality set of headphones particularly appreciate its mesmerizing quality.
8D audio has become massively popular on Youtube and social media, especially with the neurodivergent community. Here’s how 8D audio works, and how you can try it for yourself.
What Is 8D Audio?
Eight-dimensional (8D) audio is a special type of audio effect that changes the way you experience music. When you listen to an 8D track with headphones, different parts of the recording shift from one ear to the other throughout the song.
The result is a uniquely immersive sensory experience. It feels like you’re in the middle of a large room— like a concert hall— and all the musicians and vocalists in the song are moving around you while they play and sing.
The best way to understand 8D audio is to experience it yourself. Try listening to this sound effects track (make sure you have headphones in):
The creator calls it a 3D experience, but it’s built on 8D technology and really showcases the technology’s capabilities.
Music in 8D audio may sound familiar to you. The mixing technique used to create it has been a staple of the recording industry for decades.
However, most songs only use the effect in brief moments, to create a sense of distance or space. In 8D audio, the effect is constant throughout the entire song.
Benefits of 8D Audio for ADHD and Autism
8D audio went viral on both Youtube and TikTok, where it’s popular to record the reactions of neurodivergent people while they listen to an 8D track for the first time.
In many cases, the reactions are extraordinary. Neurodivergent people report a variety of benefits from listening to 8D audio, including:
- Stress relief
- Positive mood
- Full-body shivers (in a good way)
In addition, some people with ADHD say that 8D audio helps with focus, especially if you’re doing mentally demanding work over a long period of time.
All that said, 8D audio seems to vary in the way it affects people. Some listeners say it causes nausea and dizziness, especially if the song is poorly adapted to 8D format, and 8D audio may feel like sensory overload for some people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
The best way to find out how 8D audio works for you is to try it yourself. If you find it unpleasant, you can always turn it off. It doesn’t seem to cause any serious or lasting side effects.
How Does 8D Audio Affect Your Brain?
8D audio is fairly new and we don’t yet understand why some people respond to it so powerfully.
However, it shares a lot of characteristics with binaural beats, which have been around for years and have well-established benefits for neurodivergent and neurotypical brains.
Binaural beats play two different tones at very similar frequencies, one in each ear of your headphones. The result is an auditory illusion: your brain tricks itself into hearing a phantom third tone that’s the difference in frequency between the two real tones.
For example, if you had a tone at 130 Hertz (Hz) and a tone at 120 Hz, you would hear a third tone at 10 Hz. As a result, binaural beats create an effect similar to the one 8D audio produces: you get a sense that you’re in a three-dimensional space with the music, with sounds moving all around you.
In addition, a 2014 review found that music-based therapy incorporating binaural beats supported social interaction, non-verbal communication, and the ability to express emotion in people on the autism spectrum. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24936966/
So while we aren’t yet sure how 8D audio works, music processed in a similar way has a positive effect on people’s brains. That could explain why people are having such positive reactions to 8D tracks.
Try This 8D Audio Playlist
If you want to give 8D audio a try, this playlist is the perfect way to start. Just make sure you wear your best pair of headphones, and stop listening if you start to feel nauseous or dizzy. And as always, headphones while driving is a bad idea and illegal in most places.