Read the text carefully and decide which sound is the worst for you.

Worst Sounds in the World

Scientists agree that unpleasant sounds fall into two distinct categories. First, annoying sounds like incessant car alarms and snoring because they are intrusive and disrupt our thought process or sleep. And second, noises that trigger an immediate negative intuitive reaction, like nails on a blackboard or squeaking polystyrene.


Many people say that in this case it’s not the actual sound, but rather the mental picture, that disgusts listeners. I must say that I simply cannot be within earshot of a puking person, otherwise my own gag reflex involuntarily gets triggered.

Microphone Feedback

As a rule, this one often is physically painful, so I’m not surprised it placed so high on the list.

Crying Baby

Interestingly enough, when we look into different demographic groups, it was the male contingent that boosted the sound of a baby’s wailing into the number three spot. That’s not to say that women aren’t equally upset by the sound – maybe they’re just maternally conditioned not to complain about it as much.

Poorly Played Violin

I don’t expect to hear the same quality as Yehudi Menuhin from every player, but some people shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near one of these beautiful instruments. Bad scraping on the violin strings set a lot of people’s teeth on edge.


Not surprisingly, while it was men that found the sound of a crying baby irritating, women overwhelmingly voted for the sound of farting as being upsetting.

People Arguing

Psychologists would probably trace the high placement of this sound to people’s childhoods and possibly their memories of cringing in the cupboard with their hands over their ears as their parents fought. Me, I just hate the sound.

Person Chewing Food with an Open Mouth

An apple was the most-mentioned annoying open-mouthed munching sound, but I’m sure you can think of grosser sounds coming from a dining partner who inadvertently invites you to view and listen to his meal via their gaping mouth.

Dentist’s Drill

Certain sounds grate according to geography. In South American countries, the high-pitched whine of a dentist’s drill was the number one sound that made people shudder.