UK Survey Reveals 20 Best and 20 Worst Sounds

UK Survey Reveals 20 Best and 20 Worst Sounds

BRACKNELL, BERKSHIRE, UK—A survey conducted by Siemens UK reports that more than 6 million Brits say the glug of wine pouring into a glass is their all-time favorite sound.

The sound of wine being poured scooped 19% of the votes in a new survey, beating traditionally popular sounds such as the dawn chorus and a crackling open fire. And intolerant Brits voted the sound of a screaming child the most annoying sound ever—more than novelty ring tones and nails on a chalkboard. The survey of 3,000 people was conducted by Siemens Hearing Instruments in the UK to coincide with the launch of the company’s new Centra hearing instrument which is designed to recognize and reduce annoying noises while preserving the sound of voices and conversations, according to the company.

The research also revealed that nearly one-third of us (29) are kept awake at night by a snoring family member, 18% have their beauty sleep disturbed by drunken partygoers, and 16% are woken up by noisy neighbors.

Despite the fact 7% of the nation says they suffer sleepless nights thanks to their baby crying, sentimental Brits also said their most memorable sound was their children’s first words.

The sound of gun shots was picked by 38% of people as the scariest sound they could hear and 31% chose the sound of a crackling log fire as their most comforting sound.

Britain’s top 20 favorite sounds

  1. The glug of wine as it pours into a glass
  2. Dawn chorus
  3. A cat purring
  4. Rain falling
  5. Laughter
  6. A stream flowing over rocks
  7. An open fire
  8. Waves crashing on the shore
  9. Footsteps through fresh snow
  10. Rain on a tent/caravan roof
  11. The acceleration of a powerful car
  12. Church bells in the distance
  13. A cricket bat hitting a cricket ball
  14. The wind passing through the leaves of a tree
  15. Crowds chanting at a football match
  16. Lawn mowers in the summer
  17. Seagulls calling
  18. The rustle of a feather duvet
  19. Pebbles being thrown into water
  20. The popping of a champagne cork

Britain’s top 20 least favorite sounds

  1. Screaming children
  2. The sound of nails on a chalk board
  3. Car or house alarms
  4. A dentist’s drill
  5. A yapping dog
  6. Someone talking with their mouth full
  7. Mobile ring tones
  8. Alarm clocks
  9. Someone’s knife grinding on a plate
  10. Someone grinding their teeth
  11. Car horns in traffic
  12. An unanswered phone
  13. Dripping tap
  14. Someone biting their nails
  15. Someone blowing their nose
  16. A squeaky door
  17. People chewing gum
  18. Screeching brakes
  19. Someone learning the violin
  20. A chair scraping on the floor

Thirty-eight percent of people who answered the survey also said they had a family member with some hearing loss who hadn’t had a hearing test, and 57% said there was a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid. Thirty-four percent said they would be put off wearing a hearing aid because of the stigma.

“The sounds that rank as favorites are either associated with fun and pleasure, such as wine being poured, laughter, and a popping champagne cork, or peace and reassurance, such as a dawn chorus, purring cat, and an open fire,” says Psychologist Glenn Wilson from Kings College, London, who analyzed the survey for Siemens. “The most annoying sounds are those that are intrusive and peace-shattering, such as crying children, mobile ring tones, and alarm clocks, or threatening, such as a dentist’s drill, gunshots and nails on chalkboard.

“The stigma of hearing aids relates to the perception that the wearer is ‘old’ and ‘handicapped’ and therefore likely to be a nuisance. However, this stigma is diminishing as young people adopt earpieces for their iPods, mobile phones, and other ‘techy’ devices and technology improves to ensure that hearing aids don’t just amplify noises per se but improve clarity and intelligibility.”

The complete report is available on the Siemens UK Web site