Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Am I a teenager?

Here's a site that has that 'mosquito' sound that supposedly only under 25's can hear. (HT: Gus van Horn).
The Teenager Audio Test - Can you hear this sound?

Created by Oatmeal

I am 38 this year and I can hear that sound perfectly well - it's as annoying as all hell, actually. This sound is supposedly used in some shopping centres to keep unwanted youths away. I can tell you that if THAT was being piped to all the centre's PA speakers then they wont be getting a red cent from me as I probably wouldn't make it in the door.

I've long known that my hearing is excellent, and is probably notably above average, given the surprised looks I get from the sound-room clincial techs whenever I get my hearing tested for work purposes. I also recall, from about 1999 or so (ie age 26), going to an interactive science museum place in Brisbane. On one of the floors there was a soundmaker with a frequency dial. For my own edification I pushed it to see how high a pitch I could hear, and I managed to crank it up to a little over 17kHz. Even to this day I can hear the squeal of a CRT (eg TVs, monitors et al, that use old fashioned vacuum technology) - and when people scrape cuttlery over their dinner plates it gets on my nerves something shocking. If I were to hazard a guess, I could probably still hear reasonably well up to the vicinity of 12-15kHz today and without jacking the decibels to ridiculous levels to do so.

Of course, I also look after my hearing - I regularly wear ear muffs or use ear plugs and the like even when others don't bother, and I generally prefer silence (mostly because what's on the radio is absolute CRAP, but also because the sound interferes with my musing in my head). That being said, although 95% of the time I like my silence I am not averse to cranking up the volume on the work CD stacker once in a blue moon (ie when I have the place to myself and I wont disturb anyone else) to a level beyond what other people thinks is sane. Hell, sometimes the only thing that stops me from cranking it louder is that the window panes rattle a bit too much for comfort. Well, hey, there you have it - I am indeed a kid...


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