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It's official: Whining is the most irritating noise (plus 7 other annoying sounds)

New science backs up what we already thought but what other sounds annoy us?

Wind down that whining
Wind down that whining

YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T need proof but here it is anyway that whining is in fact the most annoying sound in the world.

Scientists in the US have found that a toddler’s whining in particular is the most distracting sound on the planet. Their research has been published in the online Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology.

That’s worse than a baby’s cry, a table saw catching on a piece of wood and silence. Although that last one seems a bit obvious.

Volunteers were tested with a series of mathematical problems while they wore headphones and listened to six different sound conditions including toddler whines, baby cries, motherese (the way some mothers talk exaggeratedly to their child), two adults in conversation, the table saw, and silence.

The most mistakes and fewest problems completed happened when volunteers were trying to block out the sound of the whiny infant. Motherese and baby cries were also found to be fairly distracting.

But you know what else is annoying? These seven sounds:

1. Vuvezuela

Did it ruin last year’s World Cup for  you? Well it did for us:


2. Dial-up internet

Most of us have probably left this sound behind forever. But remember the days where you hoped that the line wouldn’t drop halfway through?


3. Mobile phone keypad tones

Those of us who know our way around our phone probably don’t have to put up with this but we probably still have to endure the fella on the bus who is not bothered to change his settings. Even more annoying is when he does something like this:


4. Fingernails on a blackboard

Need we say more?


5. Tap dripping

Would you ever go and turn that tap off…


6. Hocking

Do you spend your leisure time, hocking up phlegm and then spitting it at a mirror in your bathroom? No we thought not, but Claire does…


7. Pan pipes

No one likes the panpipes do they? We here at TheJournal.ie HQ certainly don’t.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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