Some People Can't Handle This Viral Sound -- And Some Can't Hear It At All

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Beeps, Chirps and Noise /Youtube and Kodie Helmer/Facebook

Younger people are hearing this viral sound at screeching levels while those over 40 might not hear a thing

Remember Yanny vs. Laurel? And blue dress vs. gold dress? And that pink or grey pair of Nike sneakers? Or that pair of shiny legs or white paint on legs? Guess what, y’all? There’s now a new viral trend that will separate the masses into two distinct groups: Yes I Heard That And OMG Make It Stop or What On Earth Are You Talking About?

Kodie Helmer shared a link to a 15000 Hz 15kHz sine wave frequency tone, which she says she was unable to hear — but husband, who is a little younger than her, heard it loud and clear.

“I am NOT 40 yet y’all however, 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,” she writes.

Helmer couldn’t hear the sound, but her husband Chris and their kids all could. The link went very viral because it is truly bonkers that some people are reduced to a sobbing pile after pressing play while others are totally confused because they don’t hear a thing.

Get ready to listen and if you’re like me, to cover your ears and whine like someone just dragged their nails across a chalkboard. If you can hear it, it’s that bad.

I am 37 and my husband is 41. He couldn’t hear a dang thing and I was practically on the floor begging him to shut it off, hands clamped over my ears. My kids had a similar reaction to mine and our dog came trotting in growling from several rooms away. It’s one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard, and my husband was looking at me like I was insane.

Now, the results of this “test” are definitely all over the board and by no means definitive — the comments on Helmer’s post represent a range of ages of folks who could hear it loud and clear — or not at all. But overall, in my own random testing of friends, it seems that people over 40 either don’t hear it or hear it very quietly. Most under 40 heard it loud and clear. Of course there were exceptions on both ends, but I have yet to read about a child who couldn’t hear it.

Helmer says in her post that some towns or stores use sounds like this as a means to ward off teens or keep them from staying out past curfew. We couldn’t find anything to support this, but if this is a thing any town is considering doing to keep young people home after 9pm? Please don’t. As a grown adult who could hear this sound loud and clear, it’s absolutely not something that should be used to punish anyone. A few seconds of it was enough to give me a headache for the next hour. This would be a very cruel way to avoid juvenile hijinks after dark.

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