Can somebody answer the phone?(ringtones)
By Linda Misiura, NTCA Communications Intern
The first evolution in cell phone
ring tones occurred a few years ago when phones played snippets of popular songs
to denote an incoming call. Cell phone users of all ages rushed to purchase the
latest ring tones, and the market raked in $600 million dollars in profits in
2005, according to a "USA Today" article, more than double that of 2004.
But the newest craze in cell phone rings isn't the hottest song on the radio.
Teens are currently downloading and sharing a tone that many adults cannot hear.
The tone was developed in Britain last year and recently made the leap to the
United States. The principle behind it is a biological reality that hearing
experts refer to as presbycusis, or aging ear. Most adults over 40 to 50 have
some symptoms. While most human communication takes place in a frequency range
between 200 Hz-8,000 Hz (a Hz being the scientific unit of frequency equal to
one cycle per second), most adults' ability to hear frequencies higher than that
begins to deteriorate in early middle age.
The high-pitched tone operates at a pitch of 17,000 Hz. Created by Simon Morris,
and his partner Howard Stapleton of Compound Security, it was originally used to
disperse crowds of teenagers, as they are the primary people able to hear the
high-pitched screech. However, by the ingenuity of an anonymous individual, the
sound was turned into a ring tone, now used to the advantage of those it was
originally meant to target.
Because the ring tone was pirated, the original creators have not yet earned any
money from their invention. However, Morris and Stapelton recently released the
real tone, marketing it as "the authentic Mosquito ringtone."