Those with sensitive earholes would reckon the vuvuzela makes the most irksome noise.
Latest research says otherwise. Amazing how much time and money are spent on projects of no earthly value. Take the latest one from the US: what is the number one irritating sound in the world?
There’s so many to choose from, given modern man’s hypersensitivity and stress levels brought on by the threat of global warming, unemployment, retrenchments, corrupt governments and interfering in-laws.
Start with a dripping tap robbing you of a restful night’s sleep. Then there’s the undisciplined brat noisily sucking the last few drops of a milkshake through a straw.
Snoring is a bad one. Especially the little whistle at the end of each exhalation; once hearing it, you spend the night waiting for its melodious rendering.
What about a creaking door you spend the night trying to jam with a piece of a Disprin box or your key ring – in fact, anything you can find in the dark. And the pedigreed tabby being seduced by the local alley cat on the fence alongside your bedroom window? You wait for the climactic and agonising yell before you drift back to sleep.
This one might not be the worst in the world, but to a nervous, aspiring journalist it’s catastrophic. An editor addicted to XXX mints, leaning over you while you’re typing, first sucking the sweet with the sickening aroma, then molar munching the rest in your earhole.
No wonder what should have been a scintillating piece of prose is spiked by an unsympathetic sub-editor unaware of the trauma brought on by an editor’s noisy and smelly habit that’s probably hiding a serious case of halitosis.
So what, then, is the worst universal sound? Believe it or not, bagpipes.
Personally, I’ve always associated the tunes squeezed from this distinctive instrument with pixie soldiers dressed only in skirts, sacrificing their lives for some political or religious cause.
The same research has pegged the second worst sound as coming from a lady’s hairdryer – now that makes more sense.
Spare a thought for the hearing impaired left with the sad legacy of only the sound of silence.