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ringtones for the youngs

courtesy of devipz

Can you hear this tone? http://graphics.nytimes.com/packages/audio/nyregion/20060610_RINGTONE.mp3

.. or this one: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/audio/mosquito_sound.mp3 ???

A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears

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Published: June 12, 2006

In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cellphone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear.

David Herzka, a freshman at Roslyn High School on Long Island, shared the ring tone with friends.

In settings where cellphone use is forbidden — in class, for example — it is perfect for signaling the arrival of a text message without being detected by an elder of the species.

"When I heard about it I didn't believe it at first," said Donna Lewis, a technology teacher at the Trinity School in Manhattan. "But one of the kids gave me a copy, and I sent it to a colleague. She played it for her first graders. All of them could hear it, and neither she nor I could."

The technology, which relies on the fact that most adults gradually lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, was developed in Britain but has only recently spread to America — by Internet, of course.

Recently, in classes at Trinity and elsewhere, some students have begun testing the boundaries of their new technology. One place was Michelle Musorofiti's freshman honors math class at Roslyn High School on Long Island.

At Roslyn, as at most schools, cellphones must be turned off during class. But one morning last week, a high-pitched ring tone went off that set teeth on edge for anyone who could hear it. To the students' surprise, that group included their teacher.

"Whose cellphone is that?" Miss Musorofiti demanded, demonstrating that at 28, her ears had not lost their sensitivity to strangely annoying, high-pitched, though virtually inaudible tones.

"You can hear that?" one of them asked.

"Adults are not supposed to be able to hear that," said another, according to the teacher's account.

She had indeed heard that, Miss Musorofiti said, adding, "Now turn it off."

The cellphone ring tone that she heard was the offshoot of an invention called the Mosquito, developed last year by a Welsh security company to annoy teenagers and gratify adults, not the other way around.

It was marketed as an ultrasonic teenager repellent, an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.

The principle behind it is a biological reality that hearing experts refer to as presbycusis, or aging ear. While Miss Musorofiti is not likely to have it, most adults over 40 or 50 seem to have some symptoms, scientists say.

While most human communication takes place in a frequency range between 200 and 8,000 hertz (a hertz being the scientific unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second), most adults' ability to hear frequencies higher than that begins to deteriorate in early middle age.

"It's the most common sensory abnormality in the world," said Dr. Rick A. Friedman, an ear surgeon and research scientist at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

But in a bit of techno-jujitsu, someone — a person unknown at this time, but probably not someone with presbycusis — realized that the Mosquito, which uses this common adult abnormality to adults' advantage, could be turned against them.

The Mosquito noise was reinvented as a ring tone.

"Our high-frequency buzzer was copied. It is not exactly what we developed, but it's a pretty good imitation," said Simon Morris, marketing director for Compound Security, the company behind the Mosquito. "You've got to give the kids credit for ingenuity."

British newspapers described the first use of the high-frequency ring tone last month in some schools in Wales, where Compound Security's Mosquito device was introduced as a "yob-buster," a reference to the hooligans it was meant to disperse.

Since then, Mr. Morris said his company has received so much attention — none of it profit-making because the ring tone was in effect pirated — that he and his partner, Howard Stapleton, the inventor, decided to start selling a ring tone of their own. It is called Mosquitotone, and it is now advertised as "the authentic Mosquito ring tone."

David Herzka, a Roslyn High School freshman, said he researched the British phenomenon a few weeks ago on the Web, and managed to upload a version of the high-pitched sound into his cellphone.

He transferred the ring tone to the cellphones of two of his friends at a birthday party on June 3. Two days later, he said, about five students at school were using it, and by Tuesday the number was a couple of dozen.

"I just made it for my friends. I don't use a cellphone during class at school," he said.

How, David was asked, did he think this new device would alter the balance of power between adults and teenagers? Or did he suppose it was a passing fad?

"Well, probably it is," said David, who added after a moment's thought, "And if not, I guess the school will just have to hire a lot of young teachers."

Kate Hammer and Nate Schweber contributed reporting for this article.


supposedly ppl over 25 cant hear it. I CANT HEAR IT. i'm not even 24 yet. my god. i guess i gotta thank my concert going days for that. i played this ringtone at work, no one flinched lol

if you hear something, what do you hear?

p.s. the second one, there's a faint background noise of ppl talking but supposedly there is a sound that covers that.

edited: if i raise the volume i hear a very faint high pitch... on my left ear... after playing it, my left ear hurts a little hahaha i always knew one ear was better than the other hahahah i guess i gotta thank jesse for that. standing on the right side of the stage with the speakers on your right did me good on my right ear LOL



( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
I could hear both and I am going to be 25 in a few weeks. My hearing rocks! ^_^ My iPod hasn't made me deaf yet.
Jun. 12th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
if i raise the volume i hear a faint high pitch.

do you hear it loud and clearly?
(no subject) - quasiangel - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
thats pretty weird
because i could hear both of them, and we all know im well over 25
and considering all the shows i go to without earplugs...
im impressed hahha
Jun. 12th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
haha ok what do you hear?
(no subject) - unluckydnvrmint - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unluckydnvrmint - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - devipz - Jun. 13th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
My parents are screaming at each other and my voulme is set to 1 and I heard it pretty loudly. Thank god, always thought I was going deaf. Now I realized it's probably just because people don't speak up and mumble too much.
Jun. 12th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
i'm feeling sad. i dont hear it :(
(no subject) - basicstories - Jun. 12th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
there is also the possibility...
that the speakers or headphones may not have the frequency range to produce the tone or the full tone. I was able to hear the tone on both clips, my ears are pretty sensitive though. For instance my cell phone charger produces this oscillating tone which is extremly faint. I woke up one night hearing this pulsating sound that was quite loud when I first came to then fades, so I walked around my house till I found where this noise was coming from, I couldn't find it so i just thought that maybe the neighbors alarm clock went off. NOPE. As I laid my head back down to sleep a little pissed at what ever woke me then 5 minutes later I head the noise again used my ears to follow the sound and strait to my cell phone charger. It suck being sensitive...to sound.
Jun. 12th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: there is also the possibility...
so you think i cant hear it because of my speakers? i'll try at home hahahah

ken is also sensitive to sound, so i am waiting to see if he hears it too.
Re: there is also the possibility... - basicstories - Jun. 12th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: there is also the possibility... - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: there is also the possibility... - halocon - Jun. 14th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
yo jah jie! i hear both.

the second one sounds like a baby version of the chidori. o__o
Jun. 12th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
gah jie*
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 12th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
i couldn't hear it with my speakers at first but i think it's cuz i have a lot of background noise, birds and such and someone's practicing piano somewheres. lol.

so i put on my headphones.. i can hear the high pitch noise on the first one. but i dunno if i hear what i'm supposed to hear in the second one... sounds like a low hum.. like a car driving by. is that what it's supposed to be? iono. i don't think i pick up low sounds as well as high ones anyway.

you know putting on the earphones and listening for the sounds reminds me of when we were in elementary school and they would test us, "raise your hand when you hear something." i think that was maybe in 3rd or 4th grade?
Jun. 13th, 2006 03:31 am (UTC)
I hear high pitch sound in the first one

I hear people laughing in the 2nd one
Jun. 13th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
you're supposed to hear some low hum or some noise that covers up the ppl talking/laughing
Jun. 13th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
Yay. I can hear both of them too. I think there is a similar sound from my TV when it is turned on, but my cable box is off.
Jun. 13th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
Re: =)
haha, I know what sound you're talking about b/c it drives me NUTS! :P I always feel uneasy until I finally turn off the TV.
Jun. 13th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC)
Like Salina, my earphones helped me to hear the sounds. I could hear the first one w/o earphones, but I could only hear the voices in the 2nd. W/the earphones, I could hear some other low rumbly sound over the voice. I still doubt my hearing's that good though, b/c sounds coming out of my earphones always seem significantly louder than w/o. I dunno if it's b/c the sound is more concentrated w/earphones, or if it really is louder...
Jun. 13th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
i LOVE your icon!

yeah my bro is similar too. he could hear the first one fine but not the second one.

i think because the headphones block out background noise so you hear clearer with them.
Jun. 13th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
GYAAAAA!!! The first one is painfully loud and piercing. The second one is fine, I heard them as if I hear anything else. I'm not gonna read the rest of that shit, its looks too educational.

Jun. 13th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
what do you hear for the second one?
(no subject) - gxcad - Jun. 15th, 2006 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arnogseel - Jun. 15th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gxcad - Jun. 16th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 13th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
interesting...at first i couldn't hear it or ANYTHING else from my comp...that was cuz the speaker cable was UNPLUGGED. LOL. yeah, i can hear both files just fine.
Jun. 14th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
dude. you're so funny lol
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 14th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
yeah if it's for a short period of time. most students use it for text messaging. i guess when it's on vibrate, it still makes noise
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )