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8D audio: What is the viral music trend taking TikTok by storm?

This may, according to some, mimic a live show (although, actually, what it offers is more than that, as a live show would at least have a single focal point i.e. the stage where the music is being performed). 

If you’re confused by the 8D part, that’s – yes – a bit of a misnomer. As far as we’re aware, 4D is about as far as it goes, immersive entertainment wise – and that’s reserved for those giant iMax cinemas that feed you strobe lighting and scented mist alongside your 3D viewing experience.  

So what’s the experience of listening to it actually like? 

What does 8D audio sound like?

So, as a newcomer to 8D audio music, here’s my honest review after listening for the first time…

But first, a word of warning: typically, this needs to be listened to via headphones to experience the full 360 degree effect. However, if you’re at a loss, TikTok-ers are advising to hold your phone sideways under your chin instead – which apparently is the next best option to listen with.

There’s no denying that this is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. As I plug in my headphones, and the music floats gently from one ear to another – seemingly travelling through my head (that’s the most apt way to describe it!) It doesn’t sound like a dodgy audio mixing that’s got their stereo levels messed up. It sounds intentional; a smooth transition which is incredibly pleasant to listen to. 

The downside: this unusual effect did make me take out my Bluetooth headphones numerous times to make sure my music wasn’t playing directly from my laptop and disturbing others in my co-working space. So that’s a definite hazard of the medium!

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to your working day, I don’t think this is for you – as it’s pretty distracting. But maybe that’s the point. This isn’t background music; it’s much closer to an immersive music experience, and I can imagine it’s pretty stimulating as a solo listening experience when you’re trying to zone out from your day.

Can 8D audio reduce stress and anxiety?

One particularly compelling aspect of the 8D audio music trend is the claims that it can reduce stress and anxiety. Could this be the new ASMR – the “braingasm” inducing viral video trend which claims to induce a heightened state of calm? Well, you’ll have to decide for yourself… 

This relaxing effect is said to be particularly pronounced in ADHD and neurodivergent people (notably those suffering from autism, which is associated with sensory overload). 

While there are no scientific studies into this at present, a number of neurodivergent users on YouTube and TikTok have shared anecdotally that the music is useful in helping them.

TikTok content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

It’s believed this works in a similar way to binaural music – a type of music where you hear tones with differing frequencies in each ear – which is fundamentally very similar to 8D audio, and does have some scientific evidence behind it, with study results proving it leads to better sleep;  together with reducing stress and aiding brain function. We’ll take it!

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