written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/3/2011
Spending time around a teenager can be grating and tiring. If you want to get your own back then the Annoy-A-Teen and Stealth Tone apps can both provide a solution. These apps play sounds that adults usually can't hear, but teens can, giving you the advantage you need.
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In my experience the average teenager is not all that difficult to annoy. They often live in a perpetual state of half annoyance. Still there are times when you have been pushed just a little too far and it’s time to remind them who is boss. A direct reaction is often going to cause you more trouble and arguing with an angry teen is no fun at all. The better choice may simply be to use some of these iPhone apps to take your revenge without them realising that you are doing it at all.
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This is the app that started it all and it works very well. Using the iPhone's speaker this will create a high pitched sound that most adults cannot hear. This is especially useful if you went to a number of loud concerts as a teenager yourself as there's little chance your hearing will register it.
There are a number of options including pulsing sounds, a constant tone, a randomly changing tone and even a remote control option so you can put this somewhere and turn it on remotely. The major drawback is that if you, like me, have not abused your ears then you will be able to hear it. Many of us can hear well into the same range a random teenager might. Still if you were smart and went to a few loud concerts you have almost certainly done enough damage to ensure that you will not be able to hear this and there is a slider along the side so you can simply move it up the bar until you can’t hear it. This app would also allow a person to test their hearing, though that simply isn’t as much fun.
Cost (99 cents)
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This app uses the same basic idea as the Annoy-A-Teen app in that it will play a tone that adults shouldn’t be able to hear but teenagers can. In this case it seems to play at a marginally higher frequency because the base setting is high enough I can barely hear it. There is also a dropping tone setting. This starts out at the highest frequency and lowers it. This could give you an idea who has the worst hearing in a group. Finally there is also timer which lets you set the device to go off in 3, 10, 30 or 60 seconds. This is to allow you to set it and leave I suspect, but since it remains on the screen, unless you plan to hide the iPhone, it isn’t going to do much good.
This has less flexibility than the Annoy-A-Teen app, but should generally work just about as well at the simple task of annoying them and it has the advantage of being free which bumps it up past the others, if just barely.
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Teen Annoying Sounds
This works the same way as several of the other sound apps, but the setup is a bit different. You use the iPhone default menus for most of the options using one side of the menu to set the sound frequency while the other sets the type of sound, be it pulsing, flat, radio, or scary and twisted.
Where this app has an advantage over the others is that it can be played with music or while in sleep mode. This will allow you considerably more options to annoy a teen. Ideal if you want to listen to music while annoying them. Still, aside from the ability to annoy them well, this really doesn't do anything different than the others.
(Cost 99 cents)
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If you’re a fan of European football then you almost certainly know the sound of the Vuvuzela. This is a horn which is often played during their soccer games. It has a single note and not a pleasant one. In addition there can be thousands of people using them. The disadvantage of this app is naturally that adults will be able to hear this one as well. The advantage is that it seems to have been designed and tested to find the perfect pitch to annoy everyone in the world. So if you can stand to listen to this it will likely work well.
I have tested this with a roomful of people including teenagers during the last World Cup and I can assure you that if your desire is to annoy people it will succeed. Simply be aware that this could result in someone taking your iPhone and throwing it out a window. When compared to apps not meant to annoy people this would rate very badly, but when you look at what it is supposed to do it is more or less perfect.
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There are a number of other sound apps which will annoy teenagers in the same way. These can include some of the dog whistle and mosquito repellant apps. The advantage of these is that there are a few of them that are free so you may want to try them before you buy anything because if you can annoy a kid for a bit less money you might as well. After all there is a good chance that if you have a teenager you are broke.