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I've heard (no pun intended) some claims that some storefronts in shopping malls play a noise that sounds like a mosquito, which apparently can't be heard by adults yet drives teenagers nuts. The purpose of this noise is to keep teenagers from loitering at the storefront's entrance.

I've heard a few of these noises on YouTube. However, every single one of these sound clips are perfectly audible to me. Better still, they don't really bother me at all.

I guess I'm skeptical because the majority of these stores have employees who would be painfully affected by his noise.

So is it true that stores have used such a noise and is it effective?

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    I know many stores that play sounds that are annoying to adults, but don't bother teenagers... – Flimzy Oct 20 '11 at 2:36
  • Adults can't hear mosquitos? – Zano Oct 20 '11 at 6:29
  • @Zano: i don't know the frequency of a real mosquitos sound, but the ability to hear high frequencys gets lost when you get old (known as Presbycusis). so when you play a sound at 17.5 kHz, most people older than ~25 years won't hear it while most people below that age will. – oezi Oct 20 '11 at 7:33
  • There is a shopping mall in Southampton, UK that plays this noise at its entrance. Unfortunately, it is also right next to a major bus stop and is incredibly annoying if you have to wait longer than a few minutes for a bus. – user5087 Oct 20 '11 at 9:49
  • @Zano - I cant. I remember the sound from when i was a kid but No. Here is a YouTube clip of the sound that only the one intern(only one under 30 in my group) could hear. – Chad Oct 20 '11 at 13:43
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There is a product developed for that purpose. It was installed in at least one shop in South Wales where it was banned by community officials for violation human rights.

In France, a local court banned the device, but there don't seem to be any nationwide bans of the device, at least not in Europe. According to civil rights groups, such a device probably violates the European Convention on Human Rights or national laws, like the Non-fatal Offences against the Person Act in Ireland.

  • This answer does not really address the second part of the question on weather these devices are effective. – Boris Oct 20 '11 at 15:59
  • Has there been any reports of its effectiveness? – Tim Reddy Oct 20 '11 at 17:11

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