We Live In A Sea Of Carefully Designed Beeps

Even the word barely existed until 60 years ago. Now electronic tones are everywhere from heart monitors to smartphones to supermarket scanners, alerting us to everything from the truck backing up toward us to the train doors closing behind us to the Lean Cuisine in the microwave being ready. And those sounds aren’t chosen casually: psychoacousticians work hard to match the beep to the job.

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