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What Are the Top Sounds Most Likely to Trigger Your Happy Memories? Poll Names Top 40

Sound is what sets off the best memories—ahead of sight and even smell, according to a new poll.

Birds singing and waves crashing on the shore were among the top sounds most likely to trigger people’s fond memories.

A study of 2,000 adults, aged 50 and over, found four in 10 people experience sounds that prompt nostalgic thoughts a couple of times a week.

For some, rain on the windows, sheep bleating, and a train going down the tracks are enough to make them smile.

Other respondents said these sounds transport them to another place in another time, including trees blowing in the wind, a crackling fireplace, and church bells.

Gordon Harrison, chief audiologist at Specsavers, which commissioned the survey, said, “Sound impacts most aspects of our lives, so it is no surprise that certain sounds trigger happy youthful memories.”

This is particularly true when it comes to sounds of the outdoors. These trigger memories of good times for 67 percent of adults. No wonder 78 percent of those polled said they tend to spend lots of time outside.

And of the 94 percent who have access to their own outdoor space, they’ll spend an average of five hours in it every week – with 72 percent referring to it as their ‘happy place’.

The kettle whistling, the radio playing, and cats purring also featured in the top 40 positively-triggering sounds, according to the over 50s. More than three quarters said that as they grow older, they treasure their happy memories more.

However, more than half of respondents admitted their hearing has deteriorated with age, yet only 26 percent have had it checked by an audiologist.

A full 90% confessed they took their hearing for granted in their younger years, according to the survey, carried out through OnePoll. And 45% worry about their hearing getting worse, especially when being questioned about losing the ability to have some of these pleasurable memories triggered by the sounds around them.

TOP 40 MEMORY-TRIGGERING SOUNDS FOR THESE OVER 50s:

  1. A specific song or piece of music
  2. Waves crashing on the shore
  3. Birdsong
  4. A crackling fireplace
  5. Walking on fresh snow
  6. A waterfall
  7. Cat purring
  8. Trees blowing in the wind
  9. Rain on the window pane
  10. Rustling leaves
  11. Church bells
  12. Bees buzzing
  13. A thunderstorm
  14. Rain patter on leaves
  15. Children playing outside
  16. Lawns being mown
  17. A fountain
  18. The radio playing
  19. Sheep baaing
  20. Seagulls squawking
  21. A train going over tracks
  22. Cows mooing
  23. A cork popping
  24. Dinner being served up
  25. Pouring a drink
  26. Mail being delivered
  27. Food cooking on the hob
  28. Cicadas humming
  29. Sports stadium/arena
  30. The kettle boiling
  31. An airplane flying overhead
  32. A crowd cheering
  33. Horses galloping
  34. A beer bottle/tin being opened
  35. Dog barking
  36. Fish jumping out of water
  37. Street entertainers
  38. A toaster popping
  39. A coffee grinder
  40. A garden sprinkler