Are These The World's Most Annoying Sounds?

By Meera Dolasia on October 15, 2012

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What is the most unpleasant sounds to the human ear? That, was the big scientific mystery that researchers at the Welcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at UCL and Newcastle University in England, wished to solve. So, they recruited a group of 13 people and subjected them to 74 different noises that we encounter in our everyday lives.

In order to make the results as objective and unbiased as possible, they determined the reactions, not by the listeners' expressions but by measuring their brain activity with an MRI scanner. What they discovered was that while sounds are normally processed in the brain's auditory cortex, unpleasant sounds - identified as those with a frequency of between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz - seem to activate the amygdala neurons that aid in processing emotions, making us more sensitive to that particular noise, which is why we consider it irritating or pleasing depending on what it is.

The study which was led by Dr. Sukbiner Kuman was conducted to better understand how the human brain reacts to different sound decimals, which will in turn aid scientists to better understand medical conditions like migraines or autism, where the sufferers are very sensitive to noise.

So what are the sounds that make our hair stand? Here, are the top five as revealed by the scientists in a report published in the Journal of Science earlier this month. What will probably come as a surprise (or maybe not), is that two of them are noises most of you encounter on a regular basis.


In case you are wondering, the sound that the 13 people found most pleasant was that of bubbling water! Did you find the noises as annoying? If not, be sure to let us know what noises irritate you the most, by adding your comments below.


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  • hannahbear12000
    hannahbear12000Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 11:28 am
    These sounds gave me a headache and worse, I HATE THE NOISES!
    • woweeeeeeeTuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:21 am
      i didn't last 1 second on the nails on a blackboard so annoying!
      • gymnast_star
        gymnast_starTuesday, April 26, 2016 at 4:15 am
        If it wasn't recorded, and someone actually scratched their nails on the blackboard, oh my god. That is gonna make me get all goosbumpy!
        • cuttiepie4400
          cuttiepie4400Friday, March 18, 2016 at 10:34 am
          i did not get to w atch them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          • I'm a changWednesday, March 2, 2016 at 2:01 pm
            5 is the most annoying BY FAR.
            • I'm not a changTuesday, February 2, 2016 at 7:11 am
              Of course
              • kittycutie
                kittycutieFriday, January 29, 2016 at 7:15 am
                It would probably be more annoying if it wasn't a recording. In real life they would probably give me the chills. The only one that made me cringe as a recording was the nails on a blackboard. *Shudder*
                • rdb00kw0rm
                  rdb00kw0rmFriday, January 29, 2016 at 5:25 am
                  AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I'M GONNA LOSE MY EARS!!!!!!!!!!!! Every one gave me goosebumps and were cringe worthy
                  • jordanWednesday, January 27, 2016 at 7:14 am
                    none are annoying
                    • rdb00kw0rm
                      rdb00kw0rmFriday, January 29, 2016 at 5:26 am
                      What! Not even goosebumps!
                    • IHaveNoFriendsTuesday, January 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm
                      The third is death for my ears. RIP

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