Today at work I was exposed to a relatively new phenomenon of ultrasonic ringtones. Apparently all the cool school kids are using it but since I’m not one I feel free to let you know all about it. It’s a ringtone that is of such a high pitch that only people under 20 years of age can hear it. Therefore school kids are finding good uses for it such in class – they get an sms but the teacher can’t tell cause they never heard the phone ring. Smart thinking.

So today a guy at work was demonstrating it to a couple of the others and they are all going “yes that is an annoying sound” but I couldn’t hear shit. I accused them of creating a complex joke arranged in my absence but they seemed awfully convincing. The owner of the phone downloaded some different pitches of the song to show me and I finally heard it at the lower frequencies – but only if I held the phone to my ear. Meanwhile all the young guys around me and across the other side of the floor are going insane with the horrible noise and I’m happily oblivious to it. I called them all dogs since they could hear so well while they got me back saying that I couldn’t hear sounds 40 year olds should be able to decipher.

This of course depressed me as the mild tinnitus I suffer from is obviously a symptom of something worse. How much music am I not hearing properly thanks to this problem? Could 15 years of earbud listening cause so much damage to my hearing that a 40 year old can listen better than me? Did all those concerts I went to as a 20 year old ruin me for life?

If you want to try it out yourself, try the ultrasonic ringtone website. I can’t even hear the 12kHz one.

In other news, I’m going to the Missy Higgins concert at the Tivoli this Saturday to deafen myself even further.



4 thoughts on “Ultrasonic – not!

  1. Flyingbrick says:

    What I am wondering is that how loud should the speakers be set so that you can try to hear the sounds? I increased the volume up on my comp quite high and i could hear right up to about the 21.1khz tone, but if i left the volume to the normal levels of what i would have it at, i can only get to the 17khz range, and even that, was at a stretch.

  2. Amyo says:

    I have a feeling that it’s less to do with volume although that probably helps a little. I had it at the highest volume on my mac and couldn’t hear it even being right in front of it, whereas Pauline was in the room next door and popped her head in to say stop doing it! 🙂

  3. Shane says:

    I could hear all the way up to 21.1, couldnt hear the 22. something else to consider is. if your speakers are capable of reproducing those sounds.. i was using some high quality headphones on my imac with volume set at half..

  4. Anonymous says:

    At comfortable volume level I could hear up until 19.9khz (the speaker system hooked up to my PC has a 100hz-20khz range, which is fairly typical, so I’m not surprised I couldn’t get higher) All said, that isn’t too bad for a 46 year old. But I have always had above-average hearing (to compensate for my sh*t eyesight). Plus, I’ve never listened to music through headphones, and especially not those bud-style earphones, so my cilia have been well looked after. Thus, I can still tell the difference between a typical MP3 (with it’s awful compressed dynamic range)and the full-range original recording.


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