Auditory persistence

Sound is something I was attuned to from an early age1. In particular, I can’t recall a time when jingles and phrases from TV and radio commercials didn’t stick with me days, months, or even years later.

One such example is the tagline for the regional phone company I grew up with. Even today, 19 years after it became part of what we now know as Verizon, the jingle plays clearly in my mind.

We’re the one for you, New England–New England Telephone.

Fitting as it was at the time, the slogan is mildly entertaining today, considering that Verizon sold off much of its New England operations to Frontier Communications. But I digress…

Another example of my excessive auditory retention is one that I alluded to in “Life by the NPR schedule.” For as long as I’ve been an NPR listener, I’ve had this unnecessary ability to repeat the call sign announcements and underwriter acknowledgements that appear regularly throughout broadcasts. The former is mildly useful when the stations includes frequencies, though few do these days; the latter ability is, unless it’s your job to make the announcements, perfectly superfluous. Nonetheless, I can complete many of the announcers’ sentences, after identifying them by name before they’ve done so themselves.

Ironically, in many other regards, my memory is rubbish. I struggle to recall the names of people I’ve met many times before. I repeat the same stories not realizing that I’ve already shared them. I require note-taking apps and cross-device to-do lists to perform the most routine and mundane of tasks. But, I can still clearly hear the New England Telephone jingle whenever it pops into my head.


  1. Hence my first career path towards audio engineering

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