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Siemens Survey Reveals the UK's Favourite Sounds

United Kingdom, Jul 21, 2006-- More than six million Brits say the glug of wine pouring into a glass is their all-time favourite sound, according to new research published by Siemens.

The sound of wine being poured scooped 19 per cent of the votes in a new survey, beating traditionally popular sounds such as the dawn chorus and a crackling open fire. And intolerant Brits voted the sound of a screaming child the most annoying sound ever - moreso than novelty ringtones and nails on a chalk board.

The survey of 3,000 people was conducted by Siemens Hearing Instruments to coincide with the launch of Centra, the worlds first trainable hearing aid, which has the first and only sound suppression system to reduce irritating, impulsive non-speech sounds, like rustling paper and clanging dishes.

The research also revealed that 29 per cent of us - thats nearly one in three - are kept awake at night by a snoring family member. Eighteen per cent have their beauty sleep disturbed by drunken partygoers and 16 per cent are woken up by noisy neighbours.

Despite the fact seven per cent of the nation says they suffer sleepless nights thanks to their baby crying, sentimental Brits also said their most memorable sound was their childrens first words.
The sound of gun shots was picked by 38 per cent of people as the scariest sound they could hear and 31 per cent chose the sound of a crackling log fire as their most comforting sound.

Squeaky Joe Pasquale was nominated as the celebrity with the most annoying voice, just over Janet Street Porter and Jade Goody. Women named Sean Connery as the star with the sexiest voice, along with Pierce Brosnan and Barry White, while men opted for the husky Mariella Frostrup over Angelina Jolie and Joanna Lumley.

Thirty-eight per cent of people who answered the survey also said they had a family member with some hearing loss who hadnt had a hearing test, and 57 per cent said there was a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid. Thirty-four per cent said they would be put off wearing a hearing aid because of the stigma.

Psychologist Dr Glenn Wilson from Kings College, London, who analysed the survey for Siemens, said: The sounds that rank as favourites are either associated with fun and pleasure, such as wine being poured, laughter and a popping champagne cork, or peace and reassurance, such as a dawn chorus, purring cat and an open fire. The most annoying sounds are those that are intrusive and peace-shattering, such as crying children, mobile ring tones and alarm clocks, or threatening, such as a dentist's drill, gunshots and nails on chalkboard.

The stigma of hearing aids relates to the perception that the wearer is old and handicapped and therefore likely to be a nuisance. However, this stigma is diminishing as young people adopt earpieces for their iPods, mobile phones and other techy devices and technology improves to ensure that hearing aids dont just amplify noises per se but improve clarity and intelligibility.

Rob Ryman, hearing therapist and audiologist at Siemens, said: We are not surprised to find that over a third of the respondents have a family member with hearing loss that has not had a hearing test, as 15 years can typically pass between the onset of hearing loss and the moment when people first seek help. Many people feel that hearing aids will amplify all sounds, even those that are irritating, and be a hindrance as much as help. But technology is evolving quickly and hearing systems like Centra, which offers the most advanced hearing technology available, enable users to feel comfortable and confident in any situation, improving their hearing and quality of life.

Britain's top 20 favourite sounds

  1. The glug of wine as it pours into a glass
  2. Dawn chorus
  3. A cat purring
  4. Rain falling
  5. Laughter
  6. A stream flowing over rocks
  7. An open fire
  8. Waves crashing on the shore
  9. Footsteps through fresh snow
  10. Rain on a tent/caravan roof
  11. The acceleration of a powerful car
  12. Church bells in the distance
  13. A cricket bat hitting a cricket ball
  14. The wind passing through the leaves of a tree
  15. Crowds chanting at a football match
  16. Lawn mowers in the summer
  17. Seagulls calling
  18. The rustle of a feather duvet
  19. Pebbles being thrown into water
  20. The popping of a champagne cork

Britain's top 20 least favourite sounds

  1. Screaming children
  2. The sound of nails on a chalk board
  3. Car or house alarms
  4. A dentists drill
  5. A yapping dog
  6. Someone talking with their mouth full
  7. Mobile ring tones
  8. Alarm clocks
  9. Someones knife grinding on a plate
  10. Someone grinding their teeth
  11. Car horns in traffic
  12. An unanswered phone
  13. Dripping tap
  14. Someone biting their nails
  15. Someone blowing their nose
  16. A squeaky door
  17. People chewing gum
  18. Screeching brakes
  19. Someone learning the violin
  20. A chair scraping on the floor

About Siemens in the UK

Siemens was established in the United Kingdom 163 years ago. The company employs 21,122 people in the UK, including about 5,000 in the manufacturing sector. Last years revenues were 3 billion, including exports of 500 million. Siemens provides innovative, high-quality services and solutions to customers in a diverse range of industry sectors, including power, automation and control, information and communication, medical, transportation, lighting, and household. Siemens has offices and factories throughout the UK, with its headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire. The companys global headquarters is in Munich, Germany.

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