Keeper of The Fruit Loops

This Viral Hearing Experiment Proves Teens Can Actually Hear You

July 26, 2020
Teen hearing music

Once again, a heated Internet debate is flaring, only this time, it’s pitting kids and teens against parents. And it’s glorious, trust me. Spoiler alert: a hearing experiment that has taken the internet by storm proves teens have been ignoring you since forever. Yes, really.

The people of the Internet love a good debate, particularly when there’s no clear right answer. First, it was the Blue/Gold dress debate where people spent hours arguing about whether they saw a blue or gold dress in a picture posted on Tumblr in 2015. (It was gold, people. Case closed.)

Then a 30 second sound byte divided America right in half: the debate over whether you heard the computer generated voice say “Laurel” or “Yanni”  was a hotly contested discussion. (Laurel. Duh.)

And, of course, we all weighed in when it became clear that the Internet couldn’t decide if a pair of Nike sneakers were pink or grey. (Anyone with eyes could clearly see they were pink. Fight me.)

In a now viral post on Facebook, Kodie Helmer shared a YouTube link with a sound that according to her post, can’t be heard easily after the age of 40. She writes, in part, “I heard on the radio that some businesses and even towns are using a sound wave as a deterrent for teens after curfew, INTERESTING right?! So I looked into it and found a series of sounds that become harder to hear as you *ahem* age. This one in particular cannot be heard by most people over the age of 40.

Helmer goes on to post a link to the sound that is labeled “15000 Hz 15kHz Sine Wave Frequency Tone” and challenges her readers to see for themselves whether or not they can hear it.

Because I like to get news straight from the source, I spoke to Helmer about her hearing experiment and she admitted that she was “completely SHOCKED” that she couldn’t hear the sound, and still is. She knew that others would find it as interesting as she did. She added that she and her husband are the proud parents of six children ages 4-16.

A quick scroll through the comments of Helmer’s post shows hundreds of parents conducting Helmer’s hearing experiment and commenting that their kids could hear the sound and they could not. Astounded parents reported hilarious scenarios where they surprised their kids with the sound and watched as their kids seemingly melted to the ground, as if felled by kryptonite.

Naturally, I took matters into my own hands and tested the link immediately.

And, of course, I tested it on my unsuspecting teen daughter.

I stood in the mudroom of our home, while she and her father were folding laundry in our laundry room. Unseen to both of them, I clicked on the link to the YouTube sound.

Instantly, my daughter stopped what she was doing and said to her father, “Do you hear that?” My husband, who is apparently deaf as a post like me, looked at her quizzically. Of course, I continued to watch my test subjects without comment.

As the sound wore on, my daughter became more and more agitated. “What is that sound?” she yelled. Even our dog started to turn circles in the kitchen as she scratched at her ears. My husband continued to fold sheets and started to look at my daughter like she’d lost her marbles.

Unable to contain myself for another minute, I let the cat out of the bag and explained my scientific method, much to my daughter’s annoyance.

Of course, two test subjects weren’t enough to round out my study so I decided to widen my net: I sent the link to ten of my neighborhood friends in a group text asking them to test the link with their kids. Almost all of them responded that their kids could hear the sound and they could not. Well, except for one of our neighborhood gals who, apparently, has “young ears.” Whatever.

The results of my highly biased, unscientific study are astounding: this link proves that kids and teens can actually hear. And, what’s more: they can hear things that we can’t and that’s an incredibly useful bit of information.

Now, of course, we could spend time lamenting that this also means our hearing has gone to hell and that, on top of everything else that falls apart at this age, we now can’t hear YouTube links. However, I think we’d be missing the major takeaway: I’m pretty sure I’ve found my new discipline tool.

My kids are about to find out that if they aren’t doing the dishes fast enough or if their rooms aren’t up to muster, I’m going to be relying on “15000 Hz 15kHz Sine Wave Frequency Tone” to help me keep them in line. And, somehow, I’m pretty sure my ears won’t be able to hear their complaints to turn it off. #NotAtAllSorry


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