The Most Irritating Noise in the World

There are a lot of noises that people find irritating – maybe a little subjective but I think there are some crowd favourites. The good old fingers down the blackboard used to be a winner – fingers down the whiteboard just doesn’t have that same ring to it (actually the most irritating thing with whiteboards is when you use a permanent marker instead of a whiteboard marker – now, that’s irritating).

Maybe I should have titled this the most irritating things because as I try and type and save I want instantaneous saving, not having to wait for the computer to catch up with my keystrokes – apples and windows are both irritating at times. Someone crunching on an apple is irritating – someone crunching on a window is stupid. But if they do crunch on a window then it takes them off to the dentist – stepping foot in there is irritating – however, there is no word that can describe listening to the drill.

But what about wherever you go and you hear the wonderful ring tones of an iphone or a nokia – did I say wonderful? Everyone has the same ring tones and if they don’t then they have some terrible music that obviously means something to them but irritates the rest of us. Not as bad as going to the movies and have someone rifle through a bag of chips or lollies or the bottom of a coke. Notice how they always seem to sit right behind you – never in front, always behind. The only people who sit in front of you are those with oversized craniums.

Getting back to the list of irritating noises, what about the vacuum cleaner. No wonder dogs want to eat the damn things. I’m sure the sound of vacuum cleaners are set to various levels at the factory like: level 1 – disturb favourite TV; level 2 – annoy the dog; level 3 – I can’t hear you; level 4 – you are not watching the football while I’m trying to clean. Have you also ever noticed that office cleaners only ever come around with the vacuum when (a) you are trying to finish some urgent work, (b) you are making an important phone-call, (c) you are about to have a meeting, or (d) you need to relax after a late night or a late lunch? Do they ever vacuum when you are out of the office – no.

Here are a few more irritating noises: the scratchy voice over the PA telling you your train is cancelled – again (notice, it’s never any other train, only the one you need to catch); the screechy cats at two in the morning; the whiny dogs whenever they are hungry (which is all the time); the wailing police siren (more irritating when it is directly behind you with flashing lights indicating for you to stop); and that non-stop squealing of little kids in the supermarket or shops – kids do not want to go shopping for adult clothes; they do not want to buy stuff from the supermarket unless it has sugar in it and it is for them; they have no interest in Bunnings; and why the hell would you drag them through Ikea and expect them to sit still – that’s why they have a ball room, use it folks.

But you know the most irritating sound in the world – someone dragging a chair across the floor in the food court. Food courts are like a big cave – they echo, they exaggerate sound, they have hard floors. Hard floors with chairs that have legs designed to scrape. Combine this with a hungry kid (or six) who wanted nuggets not a burger and what’s a sushi roll mum, harmonizing with the group of school kids who need to talk loudly, backed-up with the arpeggio of smart phones, and the cacophony of people who just need to shout (it’s called a conversation people).

I think I’ve either got to stop shopping or get some ear plugs.

Here’s a quick sound grab – this was on a quiet day outside of school holidays. Note the difference between the chairs (first sound) and the stools (second sound). I might have to test this at other food courts – I like food courts, I just don’t like noise.

The most irritating noise in the world