Monday, November 19, 2007

Ringtone only for the young

There is this regular TV commercial about a ringtone that only young kids can hear. I thought "what the hell??" and dismissed it as some sort of scam targetted at innocent teens. However last weekend I came across this advert again and curiosity got the best of me. As usual, I turned to my best friend and genius, the internet.

Apparently this is no scam! This product was spawned from a technology called "Mosquito" originated from UK. This technology was used as an ultrasonic teenager repellent. Shopkeepers would install this ear splitting 17kHz buzzer to disperse teenagers loitering in front of their shops. Adults (mostly those over 30) were spared.

Well, the principle of this technology is based on the biological reality that as you grow older, you lose the ability to hear higher frequencies sound. This is called presbycusis or aging ear.

I found the sound file and played it with Windows Media Player, with my speaker's volume at the maximum. Nothing! I couldn't hear anything! I called my elder sister and got her and my nephew to listen to it. They could hear it and they said it's very annoying. sister still has this young ear! I played it for Gan and he could hear it... then again he is not in his 30s yet.

However when I put it here with a flash player (as below), I could hear it. Not sure whether is it because the flash player converted it to lower frequency.

Anyhow, I found this site with different frequencies sound. I could only hear up to 14.1kHz. Give it a try and if you cannot hear beyond 14.1kHz, come and join my old folks club...

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