Can You Hear This?

Go to this site and listen.

Apparently some UK shopkeepers, trying to control the teen traffic and gathering in front of their shops, setup a speaker that emits a high-pitch tone that only people under the age of 20 can hear.

According to NPR, the teens have struck back and have begun to use the tone for text message alerts without adults knowing what is going on. So wonderfully subversive.

Hat tip to my nephew Greg for alerting me to something I cannot hear (which gives him and his friends so much pleasure).

This post has 14 Comments

  1. abbyladybug on June 14, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    OK, that’s really funny. Another friend of my linked to this with less of an explanation, and I (age 36) was sitting on the couch with my 28 year-old Boy Toy, and I was like, “What the hell is that? Do you hear that?!” And he’s like, “Oh yeah! I do. That’s weird!”

    I have great hearing though.

  2. Boy Toy on June 14, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Does hearing that tone make us young at heart, or is it just bogus?

  3. Jonathan on June 14, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    I was reading a news article yesterday that stated that some are now offering a “ring tone” that is audible only to kids. They suggested that this will be especially useful during classes when the teacher will be unable to hear the notification.

    You are right…”how wonderfully subversive.”


  4. Kevin on June 14, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    Hey! At 47, I can still hear the tone. There are many other factors that affect hearing levels other than presbycusis (progressive loss of hearing due to aging), such as noise exposure, hereditary, medications, etc. So a cut-off at age 20 would be the stuff of “urban legend”. In fact, in the iPod culture, there are likely many 20-somethings that can’t hear the tone.

    Yikes! Though I can hear the tone, I sound like an Old Fart.

  5. kurt_t on June 14, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    I’m with Kevin. I think the bombardment of noise that we’re exposed to in the industrialized world is the primary cause for hearing loss.

    I read somewhere years ago that some scientists went out and tested the hearing of people living in hunter/gatherer cultures in the Amazon or someplace like that, and they found almost no hearing loss amongst older people.

    I try to be very protective of my hearing. In fact, I’m wearing earplugs right now because the street noise where I work drives me crazy.

    And I’m sorry I just have to say this one thing. When I was a kid, trucks didn’t beep at ear-splitting volume every time they backed up, and nobody I knew ever got run over by a truck.


    I just had to get that off my chest.

  6. Anonymous on June 15, 2006 at 12:51 am

    I’m 38 and I can definitely hear it. In fact, it’s kind of painful. Does it hurt anyone else’s ears?

    Tom D.

  7. Peterson Toscano on June 15, 2006 at 12:57 am

    I think I read somewher that if you are over the age of 20 and you still hear it, then you are part dog.

    So Tom, in dog years, that would make you 266.

  8. The Prince of Fun! on June 15, 2006 at 3:45 am

    I shouldn’t be able to hear it–I have typical upper-range hearing loss like most my age–and yet I hear this okay. I tested it dropping the volume of my speakers, and having the TV run loud in the other room, and I could still hear it okay. But, of course, I was trying to listen for something.

  9. SteveSchalchlin on June 15, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    I could hear it, too! I would have thought that the way I have abused my ears in my 52 years on this planet, it would have been inaudible. *bark* *bark*

  10. Contemplative Activist on June 15, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    I can hear it!

    Personally, I prefer the Australian approach

  11. Peterson Toscano on June 15, 2006 at 6:52 pm


  12. Sean on June 16, 2006 at 3:31 am

    Ouch, that really hurts my ears O.o My dad can’t hear it though, wierd.

  13. nonsequitur on June 17, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    I have a very shallow understanding of the human hearing range, but I am 26 years old and can hear it too, despite moderate hearing loss.

    And Contemplative, re: the Australian Approach… Didn’t the UN declare a moratorium on that sort of inhumane noise pollution? Seriously, think of how badly that could harm people. Hehehe 😛

  14. john on June 20, 2006 at 12:23 am

    Both Anita and I can hear it, but differently. To me it is quite loud, it sounds like the dissonant wistle electronic equipment like CRTs make. Anita said it instantly gave her a headache, and as I type this, she fears that I’m sending brain damage rays into her head.

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