The world’s most horrible sound
Fingernails scraping down a blackboard…the scream of a baby…your neighbour’s dog barking: what’s the worst sound in the world?
BadVibes is a new science project from Salford University that aims to find out just that. People can log on to the BadVibes website at www.sound101.org where they listen and vote on a collection of awful sounds, use the horrible sound mixer and even download horrible sound effects as ringtones.
But as Professor Trevor Cox from the University’s Acoustics Research Centre explained, there’s a serious side to the research as well.
“The idea behind the project is to get people thinking about the complex way we listen to and interpret sounds. For instance, you can find out why we find the sound of retching horrible.
By examining people’s voting patterns we will learn more about people’s perception of horrible sounds. We hope to learn about what is the worst sound in the world, and maybe why it is the worst sound.
It has been a lot of fun putting together the website, but I’m glad I no longer have to edit horrible things like the sound of my snotty nose!”
The project also includes an exhibit which is at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester from 7th November, and the results from the website voting will be analysed over the next six months.