Current track




Twenty Thousand Hertz

#117 | The Deterrent Tone

The Long-Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, was developed for the military for long-range communication at sea. But this ear-splitting device has also been fired on protesters across America, resulting in lawsuits and permanent hearing loss. In this episode, we explore the history, science and effects of the so-called “sound cannon.” Featuring tech journalist Lynne Peskoe-Yang and activist Michele Lindor.

Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, & Reddit.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel here.

Become a monthly contributor at

If you know what this week’s mystery sound is, tell us at

Check out Lynne’s work at

Get a 4-week trial, free postage, and a digital scale at Just click the microphone at the top right corner and type the promo code 20k.

Compare home and car insurance rates at

Episode transcript, music, and credits can be found here:

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


New Episodes:

  • Handbook for Sonic Happiness
    We spend a lot of time curating for taste, touch, smell, and vision. But too often, sound gets overlooked. We forget that we can get... Read more
    Published on: 2022-07-27
  • Shock Horror (A)
    There’s a certain musical phrase that you’ve probably heard hundreds of times. It’s used to emphasize dramatic moments in movies, cartoons, commercials and musicals, most... Read more
    Published on: 2022-07-13
  • Slight of Ear
    What does a sound designer do all day? How do noise canceling headphones really work? And why do modern movie trailers all sound the same?... Read more
    Published on: 2022-07-06
  • Introducing MicroHertz
    We’re thrilled to announce the launch of MicroHertz, a brand new bonus series available exclusively to our premium subscribers. MicroHertz will feature mini stories, Q&As,... Read more
    Published on: 2022-06-29
  • Breathe
    What if you woke up one day, and found that you could no longer do the thing that gave you the most joy in your... Read more
    Published on: 2022-06-22
  • Relearning Boléro
    In the same way that optical illusions can trick our eyes, auditory illusions can trick our ears. This raises a serious question: what is hearing,... Read more
    Published on: 2022-06-08
  • Ghosts in the (Hit) Machine
    Many of today’s biggest songs are written and produced by people whose names don’t appear anywhere in the credits. They’re called ghostwriters and ghost producers,... Read more
    Published on: 2022-05-25
  • Windows_Logon.wav
    Part 2 of our series on the Windows startup sounds picks up when Microsoft made the radical decision to kill the startup sound in Windows... Read more
    Published on: 2022-05-11