Friday, March 21, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I know that over the last few years my hearing has decreased a bit. Either that or the entire planet is mumbling. But I'm married to a drummer, so I always felt as if my hearing was pretty good, comparatively speaking.

Then I found this website. It allows you to test and download ultrasonic ringtones. Adolescents and children hear a lot better than people over thirty, at least a lot of them do. That means they can hear sounds in higher frequencies. Some stores are using ultrasonic sounds to keep teenagers out. And apparently, some teenagers are using ultrasonic ringtones so that they can hear their phones ring but the adults in their lives--teachers, parents--can't.

The website has a series of tones you can test, starting at one that almost everybody can hear, and moving through tones that lots of people can hear, and then on up the scale to stuff the dog can hear.

I can hear 8, 10, and 12 kHz just fine thank you. But when I hit 14.4 kHz, for all I knew the file wasn't working. On repeated tries I've found that sometimes I might hear something, but it might just be that I know other people are hearing it. One of my office mates, Steve, had his teenaged daughter at the office. She could hear all the way up to 18.8 kHz or 19.9 kHz. I find it all very strange. I can't wait to try it on the dog.


Blogger Jackie M. said...

Oh, I figured out how to test if the files actually contain sound or not: if you play two files simultaneously, the tones will beat against each other and you'll hear the difference frequency f_diff = (f_1 - f_2). And that test works all the way up to the highest advertised frequency, which does seem to contain an empty file.

(My dog pricked his ears up at two of the files I couldn't hear. Unfortunately, he then got bored with the whole business and left to take a nap.)

March 21, 2008 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have not tried it yet.
But I must say that at
47 years old,my hearing is
pretty good.Especially
upon waking up in the morning.

I swear that I can hear
a mouse fart from 3000
meters away at that time!


March 21, 2008 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful that you aren't testing the speakers on your computers. When I stopped hearing at a fairly low frequency, I pluged in my earphones and was able to hear all except the blank one. But I assumed I had pretty good hearing since I can hear normal conversations of people in the other next floor of our house and I have to shout for them to hear me.


March 22, 2008 2:49 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Well, my dog is deaf, so she won't be of any help. And my permanent-seeming cold makes my head feel like it's wrapped in cotton balls. But I'm going to try it. Thanks for the link. Question, however: if teenagers can hear better, then why do they yell and shriek?

March 22, 2008 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you live in Austin now??


March 23, 2008 6:36 PM  
Blogger Karen Sandstrom said...

I didn't do the test, Maureen, because I know I'm going deaf. I started noticing I was going deaf shortly after marrying Carlo, who was quite literally going deaf, and in my head, I "caught" it from him. It feels me with despair.

April 05, 2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger Karen Sandstrom said...

What I meant to say was it FILLS me with despair. Apparently I'm going blind, too.

April 05, 2008 10:40 PM  
Blogger gordsellar said...

Huh. I can hear all of them, which isn't too surprising to me since people have often told me my hearing is bizarrely good, but... the last few don't sound as high-pitched. It shouldn't be a difference tone unless I activating two files at once, but it sounds like it to me. I wonder if it has something to do with how the tones are generated.

(Then again, having good hearing can be a pain. I'm notoriously bad at picking out one voice from many in a crowd or in a noisy room. I figure it's hypersensitivity that makes it so tough.)

May 17, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger gordsellar said...

oops, when I say "all of them" I mean all but the last, which as jackie m. noted is empty.

May 17, 2008 11:48 AM  
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^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 24, 2009 2:56 AM  
Blogger RingtonesCloud said...

I usually download free music now

March 31, 2020 2:28 AM  
Blogger Toque De Celular said...

I am 22 years old so my hearing is quite good, I usually download ringtones at the website of, I still want to thank for your sharing.

June 22, 2020 3:32 AM  

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