Most of us have heard about 3D audio, which creates a unique listening experience by making people feel literally surrounded by the music. But a new kind of audio is now sweeping YouTube and TikTok these days, and people seem to either love it or hate it.
It’s called 8D audio, and while it works similarly to 3D, it’s allegedly far more immersive.
According to EpicSound.com, 8D audio is “essentially a subcategory of music that ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking you’re in a bigger space” than you actually are, such as a theater or concert hall.
To achieve this, musicians and/or producers will intentionally manipulate the stereo sections of a track during the editing process, making it feel as though the various sounds, voices and instrumentals are coming from different directions.
Now that the audio trend is becoming more popular, videos have been popping up all over social media showing everyday music fans listening to a track in 8D or even amateur artists giving it a try themselves.
But so far, reviews are mixed.
“HOW DID I ONLY JUST FIND OUT ABOUT THESE?!” the TikToker wrote in the caption of her viral video.
“Excuse me while I hyperfixate on this for the next 3 weeks,” she added in the video text.
In the clip, Becca Anne listens to an a capella cover of Lorde’s hit single, “Team,” sung by TikTok artist Isabella Kensington (@isabellakensington13), who suggests turning your phone sideways or wearing headphones to get the full effect of 8D.
A quick scroll through TikTok, however, shows that countless others have been toying with the sound technique, too.
Just like Becca Anne, a lot of people are obsessed with listening to the new sound. In fact, it’s especially popular among self-professed neurodivergent TikTokers, who call it “brain floss” in the best way possible.
“is it just me or does it feel like its cleaning ur mind?” someone commented on one video.
“idk why but when I hear 8D music it makes me happy and removes anxiety,” added another.
It definitely isn’t all in their heads — according to Neuropedia.com, many neurodivergent people (including those with ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia) have said that 8D music lowers their anxiety and improves their mood. Some also claim that they’ve had physical reactions to the music, like getting full-body shivers (in a good way, if you can imagine that).
Though research on this is limited, some studies have uncovered a connection. A 2018 study published in Psychological Research found “growing evidence that binaural-beat exposure is an effective way to affect cognition over and above reducing anxiety levels and the perception of pain.”
TikToker Aviva (@avivaspeaks), who regularly posts content relating to mental health, also claims that 8D audio can have an amazing impact on some brains — from reducing anxiety to improving overall mood.
“8D audio stimulates the brain for ND people,” the TikToker wrote in the text of one video. “This experience can be really calming by helping to silence and focus the mind.”
In the comments, a lot of people agreed with her. One person said it made their brain feel “calm,” while another said it felt “like a big hug.”
“I can feel it move like I can physically feel the music moving thru my body,” one person shared.
“My ADHD left me when listening to this,” said another.
“I literally teared up cause it does! It’s like…where did that racing thoughts go?” someone else wrote. “Peaceful. Are there more like this?”
There certainly are. In fact, all you have to do is scroll through the hashtags #8d or #8daudio to hear more about where that came from. Many people with ADHD or other neurodivergent conditions share themselves “blind reacting” to their first 8D track.
While you’re there, you’ll probably come across a ton of people who can’t get enough of the new sound trend. But you’ll also see comments from those who can’t stand it. Because while 8D audio may have a soothing impact on some neurodivergent brains, it can have the opposite effect on neurotypical ones.
“What is it called if it worsened your anxiety ?” asked one person on another video.
“I don’t like it, honestly makes me feel bad? idk, just kinda hurts,” added someone else.
“Why does it make me feel like my ears are like clogged?” another person wondered.
It can also be tough for some neurodivergent brains to handle, such as people with Asperger’s syndrome, who may find it to be a sensory overload.
Needless to say, 8D isn’t for everyone.
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