Why Do Some Noises Make You Cringe?

Why Do Some Noises Make You Cringe?

The majority of us can probably agree that the sound of nails on a chalkboard is unpleasant, but why is that? Theories range from evolutionary survival mechanisms to the anatomy of the human ear. Find out more in this episode of SciShow!

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20 Responses

  1. Rtoipasaluk says:

    sentence is wrong.

  2. Squidman3 says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else hate the sound of rubber ballons?
    especially the sound of someone chewy on one.

  3. Moritz Defourny says:

    To all the teachers still using chalkboards aka 90% of teachers in Germany
    or many other countries outside of America as far as I know :D

  4. Zan Kraken says:

    Nothing in the video mentioned the sound of markers on paper, or someone
    drawing with a pencil too hard against the paper, or scratching a paper
    with an eraser too hard..

    Hope I’m not alone in these, but the marker one is so much worse than nails
    on a chalkboard for me. I’ve started crying in drawing class because it was
    so bad.

  5. Jonathan Silva says:

    Audio engineer here. I am not an expert on why sounds hurt but I can point
    out that there are 2 sweet spots in human hearing; between 250 – 500 and
    between 2K -8K. These sweet spots both line up to understanding speech.
    Vowel sounds are in the lower range and all sibilance is in the higher
    range. Humans have more physical receptors cells in ear for those ranges so
    that as our hearing deteriorates we will loose the ability to hear speech

  6. syk13 says:

    but if teachers are careful and they never scrape their nails on the
    blackboard, how would kids ever learn that these are horrible noises?

  7. Janet Bradford says:

    I bet one reason we react so strongly to noises in that range is because it
    is probably the same range as a baby screaming, which is just the right
    pitch to scrape a raw nerve in your brain. That would have an evolutionary
    advantage because humans need often to attend to their babies when
    something is wrong, so it would make sense that that sound would trigger a
    strong response.

  8. jerrylwinston says:

    *preemptively turns down volume*

  9. RevOn says:


  10. pramitbanerjee says:

    Hey nerdfighteria, what are your thoughts on the current presidential race?

  11. Rand al'Thor says:

    Now do a video on the opposite and please please please have the subject
    touch on the phenomenon called ASMR. I love ASMR videos on YouTube and have
    experienced the sensation ever since I was little while watching Bob Ross.

  12. EXPHunterForce says:

    The squeak and feel of cotton balls when you squish them is the only thing
    that drives me nuts.

  13. Seph Imaru says:

    Coil Whine.

    I hate you GPU

  14. Ted says:

    Nails over a 3d card? or am i the only one?

  15. Tasha Marie says:

    I almost completely disagree with that top ten mos irritating sounds list!
    Most of those don’t bother me thatttt much. A bit annoying, yeah… But THE
    most irritating sounds ever?? Nahhh.

  16. Gordon Lawrence says:

    Ah but pen boards can have an ear bending squeak too. Especially if you use
    the cheap ones with the decent pens.

  17. Geiger Counter Virtual Museum says:

    I hate the sound of my alarm clock in the morning…

  18. jonas samuel says:

    1. Read the title
    2.Imagined a cringeworthx sound.
    3. cringed really bad.

  19. kstormgeistgem says:

    Uhm, as far as the nails-on-the-chalk-board thing, it doesn’t really bother
    me. But then I hear different frequencies than most due to my ear canals
    not growing right. When we’re little are canals are curved, like a u-bend
    in a pipe. Then as we get older, they straighten out and harden.
    Well, mine didn’t. So I hear higher and lower pitches than most people and
    have trouble hearing middle pitches. So things that bug people with normal
    hearing, don’t necessarily really do anything for me one way or another.
    But you do one of those toy wands, you know that make that horrendous sort
    of tinkling sound…? It makes my stomache clench and me want to throw up.
    It also gives me an almost instant migraine.
    Yeah, I’m not normal. lol