Monday, July 03, 2006

Young in ears - RM column June 29

JUST before Christmas I wrote here that all I wanted for Christmas was the Mosquito.

This is a device which emits a sound that young people under a certain age find very uncomfortable to hear and is being used to deter groups of young people from congregating outside shops and places like that.

Apparently the Mosquito’s effects were so strong in a Spar shop in Wales where it was being tested that teenagers would come in with their fingers in their ears pleading for the machine to be turned off.

At the time I stood up for young people and called the brains behind the venture as a killjoy. Because while I can understand how teenagers can appear threatening it does not follow that they are, far from it.

What else is there to do in many areas except hang about when you are a teenager? I did it myself and the worst thing we did was pool out money together so we could collectively buy the whole gang a Mars Bar.

How and ever that was then and this is now.

Looking through the Sunday papers I spotted that some bright spark has decided to take this idea, turn it on it’s head and develop it as a ring tone for young people that only they can hear.

The ‘Mozzy Tone’ or ‘Teen Buzz’ as the ringtones are called have since been reclaimed by the original inventor who have come up with their own version called the ‘Mosquitotone’.

The tone works because of something called ‘presbycusis’ or aging ear and it operates by emitting ultra high-pitched sounds that most people over 20 cannot hear.

The practical uses for this for the anxty teen are limitless I suppose but I can only think of being able to get text messages in school while being taught by an older teacher.

If you are interested in whether or not you have an old ear you can listen to it on the internet.

I tried as an experiment with the Young Wan only she didn’t hear it. The dog did and I felt/heard something however the Young Wan was oblivious.

I went to the page on the internet (which I discovered via Gary Shewan's blog who was also writing about it) and I turned down the telly to get it’s full effect.

Then I asked the Young Wan ‘did you hear that’ and she looked at me with that expression akin to cows looking over a hedge saying ‘erhm hear what?’.

I personally heard an uncomfortable high-pitched noise that hurt my ears, the dog didn’t like it either. So where does that leave the ringtone. It would certainly appear to be useless for some people and particularly for those with dogs because they will alert older people to the sound.

And why didn’t the Young Wan hear it, or maybe she is older in her ears than she is in her years.

(You can listen to the tone here .)

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