A Vancouver-based company is selling an anti-loitering device that broadcasts an annoying ultra-high frequency sound that only teenagers can hear.
Moving Sound Technologies sells the “Mosquito.” It broadcasts a sound between 17.5 and 18.5 kHz.
The sound is extremely annoying to teenagers yet adults don’t hear a thing.
Company president Michael Gibson says he’s sold the Mosquito from fast food chains to local governments. They often end up in public parks.
The goal is always the same -- keeping teens from loitering and vandalizing.
The Mosquito is marketed as a non-confrontational way of discouraging anti-social behavior, vandalism, and loitering. It meets all community noise standards and the company claims it’s safe even after long-term use.
Dr. Lisa Spiegel, an audiologist, says people begin to lose their hearing at a very early age. Infants and toddlers are capable of hearing high frequency sounds well above what is being transmitted on the Mosquito.
Almost immediately, the aging process causes the nerve cells in our inner ear to die. They never get replaced and we continue to lose hearing.
“We don’t usually notice any real changes until we get significantly older, until it starts impacting the actual speech frequencies," said Spiegel.
Spiegel says that while circumstances are different for everyone, there is a bit of predictability to what you can hear at different stages in life.