Here’s a nice wee summer-tinged survey from goo Ranking: in mid-May by means of presumably an open poll on their web site they asked an indeterminate number of people to choose everyday soothing sounds. As usual with goo Ranking results, the top choice scores 100, and all others rank as a percentage of the top choice.

Having recently bought a flat with a garden, and with the mating season in full swing, I can well agree with the sound of birds being tops. I’m surprised, though, that the cicada figured so low, as it is a sound very typically associated with the Japanese summer. Perhaps they are just too loud, or are usually only heard in the torrid heat of midsummer to be considered soothing? I’d also have voted for the evening insects that herald the onset of Autumn. Round about the end of August the evening chorus changes from a harsh staccato to a soft, almost melodic, chirp. Perhaps that is the crickets at number six? Of course, in a British survey, the cricket sound would be that of leather off willow.

Q: What everyday sound do you find soothing?

Rank Sound Rating
1 Twittering birds 100
2 Babbling brooks 99.7
3 Wind chimes 67.1
4 Leaves rustling in the breeze 64.2
5 Breaking waves 58.1
6 Chirping crickets 30.7
7 Falling raindrops 24.5
8 Temple bells 24.5
9 Fireworks launching 23.6
10 Silence 17.4
11 Croaking frogs 13.2
12 Mewing cats 12.5
13 Shishiodoshi 11.0
14 Chopping board chopping 10.5
15 Geta (wooden clogs) clacking 10.5
16 Cicada song 9.5
17 Gently bubbling pot 9.5
18 Steam train whistle 8.6
19 Opening a can of beer, etc 7.6
20 School chimes 7.3

Others a bit further down the ranking included the chanting of sutras at 5.1, howling dogs at 4.7, deep-fat frying at 3.2, and the click of an analog camera’s shutter at 2.9.


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