Try It: Can You Hear These Sounds Only Young People Hear?


How young are your ears?  (Photo: Getty Images)

Did you know that, as we age, we can no longer hear certain high-pitched noises as well as we did during our youth? There are sound frequencies that only young people can hear

This ear-aging process is called presbycusis, and it can begin as early as 18. It’s a result of the natural aging of the cells in our ears, and it’s unavoidable. However, if you’ve been good to your ears through the years you may be able to detect frequencies that are young for your age. 

So, let’s get to it: How young are your ears? Listen to the four clips below and you’ll know. 

8000 hertz (cycles per second): Everyone should be able to hear this frequency. This means you are alive. 

12,000 Hz is hard for anyone over 50 to hear. 

15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over 40 to hear.

17,400 Hz is the frequency only teenagers can hear! Most people over 18 should not be able to detect this sound. 

Some major retailers actually use this science to keep teens from loitering outside their stores. There’s a wall-mounted device, called the Mosquito teen repeller, that store owners can install on their property to keep young people from congregating. 

If you ever want to play a trick on your teen — or if you’re a teen, a trick on your friends — download this app from iTunes, called Frequencies — Sounds only teens can hear! It’s billed by the company as a way to “drive your little brother crazy” or “annoy everybody in the room except the teacher!”

On the flip side, teens are striking back by employing these pitches as ringtones, so they can get calls that their parents and teachers can’t hear. Pretty brilliant!