We've gathered a group of volunteers ranging in
ages from 8 to 71. We are putting them to the test
in our first Battle of the Ages contest.
-All right, you guys. We are going to play series
of sounds and if you can hear the sound, I want
you all to raise your hands up. Your right hand.
You are going to keep it there. All right?
For those of you watching at home, feel free to
-Ready? 8,000 hertz.
-You're right. All of you could hear that first
frequency. I'm going to play another sound and
another frequency. If you still hear it, keep your
hands up. If you can't, bring your hand down.
-Okay, we seem to have lost our 60 and over crowd.
-You guys look great though.
-Let's raise a frequency even more. Good. 14,000
-We lost you, we lost you... You are very fit I
-And 16,000 hertz. Well, at 16,000 hertz we've
lost all our grown-ups, but we still have our
youngest members of the crowd with their hands up.
-Luke, tell everybody how old you are.
-Eight years old. Fresh ears
-Iâ€™ve been cleaning them.
-Nice work. Now we're taking it up to 18,000
hertz. Are you guys, ready? 18,000 hertz. We've
lost 23 and 19. But the under 18 crowd is intact.
-18,000 hertz that's pretty impressive.
-Enjoy while it lasts.
So, how about you at home? Were you able to pick
up that final tone or were you left listening to
the sound of silence? Well, either way, you may
have noticed the trend. As this chart shows, the
higher the frequency, the younger you typically
have to be to hear that sound. So, why is that the
case and what does that have to do with your
brain? To help answer that, here's Yale
University's Brian Scholl.
-Sounds out in the world are just vibrations in
the air and what we hear is determined by patterns
of neurons firing in our brains. So, the first
step in hearing the sound is to somehow translate
an air vibration into an electrical neural signal.
This is done by microscopic hair cells in our
ears. Different hair cells are activated by
different frequencies of vibrations in the air.
But as we age, these hair cells start to
deteriorate so that we gradually lose the ability
to hear these frequencies. -What? Then who knows
your kids could be using a high frequency ringtone
(Iâ€™ll take that) without you even knowing that.
So, the first point in our Battle of the Ages goes
to the younger brain but this next game is going
to come down to experience, so older brain should
have the advantage.
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