Evaluating binaural beats as a therapeutic tool for intervening visually-induced motion sickness in virtual reality environments
Keywords:Visually-induced motion sickness (VISM), virtual reality (VR), binaural beats
Background: Visually-induced motion sickness (VISM) is an emerging problem in the application of virtual reality (VR) technology. Binaural beats are proven to be effective in reducing anxiety levels and enhancing pain management in VR environments. They may have the potential to be a remedy for symptoms of visually-induced motion sickness.
Objective: To investigate whether binaural beats can effectively ease the symptoms of VIMS.
Methods: Motion sickness susceptible individuals (n=35) were assigned to wear VR headsets and watch a 15-min VR video to evoke VIMS. Whenever motion sickness was self-reported by subjects, they were randomized into three groups receiving three types of intervention methods: Subjects in the experimental group listened to binaural beats; The control group was treated with beats of the same frequency at two soundtracks. And the blank group recovered without any sound played in the earphones. Subjects filled in the Simulator Sickness Questionnaires (SSQ) at three stages—before watching the VR video (baseline), during the watching experience (induction), and after watching (recovery). To increase the credibility, their physiological data were collected by a Biofeedback device during the whole process.
Results: Participants’ subjective SSQ scores were analyzed, which did not reveal any significant difference between recovery and induction (p>0.05). The physiological data were following the result obtained from analyzing SSQ scores.
Conclusion: The binaural beats did not show a significant effect of alleviating VISM.