We lose the extreme high range of our hearing as we age. There’s not a lot going on in the high frequencies that we need to worry about: it’s the realm of mosquitos and dog whistles.
Several years ago, a security company in Wales built a device to drive away loitering teens outside convenience stores. The machine blasted an annoying high-pitched noise that teens and children could hear, but most adults can’t.
Teenagers, being teenagers, recorded the noise and began using it as a ringtone so they could secretly text each other in class without alerting their teachers.
I’ve been amused and fascinated by this for years. And I’ve always wondered: have I really lost the high-end of my hearing? Can my kids hear noises I can’t?
Today a friend passed along the Mosquito Ringtone website, where you can test your hearing against a variety of high-pitched sounds. Talk about an annoying way to satisfy your curiosity.
It turns out I have lost my hearing. My daughters can hear several more than I can. I’m perfectly happy with this. Those ringtones are annoying.
They’re good for more than cell phone ringtones, though. This weekend someone at a party told me they use these sounds as an alarm clock for their teenagers!
What crazy uses can you think of for an “invisible” sound?
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