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
- The glug of wine as it pours into a glass
- Dawn chorus
- A cat purring
- Rain falling
- A stream flowing over rocks
- An open fire
- Waves crashing on the shore
- Footsteps through fresh snow
- Rain on a tent/caravan roof
- The acceleration of a powerful car
- Church bells in the distance
- A cricket bat hitting a cricket ball
- The wind passing through the leaves of a tree
- Crowds chanting at a football match
- Lawn mowers in the summer
- Seagulls calling
- The rustle of a feather duvet
- Pebbles being thrown into water
- The popping of a champagne cork
Britain’s top 20 least favorite sounds
- Screaming children
- The sound of nails on a chalk board
- Car or house alarms
- A dentist’s drill
- A yapping dog
- Someone talking with their mouth full
- Mobile ring tones
- Alarm clocks
- Someone’s knife grinding on a plate
- Someone grinding their teeth
- Car horns in traffic
- An unanswered phone
- Dripping tap
- Someone biting their nails
- Someone blowing their nose
- A squeaky door
- People chewing gum
- Screeching brakes
- Someone learning the violin
- 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