ONE of my patients today told me about a large Australian telco that had some call centres in the Philippines. Apparently, Filipino’s speech has a lot more of high-frequency tones than we Aussies typically manage to mumble through the flies, and they operate more in the top of the range of thousands of Herz much of the time. Humans can generally hear from 20 Hz (cycles per second) to 20 kHz (20,000 Hz). If you can’t hear noises this high, you can’t understand what’s being said, especially on the phone. This problem is compounded if you’re using an electronically-based phone service that ‘clips’ the top few thousand kilocycles, to save bandwidth. Turns out lots of older Australians have ‘presbycusis‘, or age-related hearing loss, and, they were behind the eight-ball already trying to understand the call centre workers properly. Couple that with ‘clipping’, and they were having all sorts of difficulties making out what was happening on the phone.
The solution? The telco had to push the frequencies back up, plus increase the bandwidth of the transmissions. This seems to have solved the problem.
Hey-hot tip! If you really want to annoy your teenage sons and daughters, get this app, Sound Grenade (Apple) (or here for Android). It has a really cool feature where you switch on a very high-pitched and annoying noise-that only young people can hear. You and I will be safe in the knowledge we’re too old to hear anything much at all, and certainly not this alarm. Too boisterous in the cinema? Switch this on and watch them looking around for the source as you relax in comfort watching the film. Or, (my favorite) hide the phone somewhere and leave the room. Drives them nuts, guaranteed. I’m told it sounds rather like a dental drill. That can’t be a good thing!