Photo credit: Rob Knight licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

by Jan L. Mayes, MSc, Audiologist

What is the worst noise or noises for you? Mine range from opera to loud aircraft flying over my house. But the consensus on social media is that the iPhone alarm is the worst noise ever created by humankind.

I beg to disagree. If people don’t like their phone alarm, they can easily change it under device settings or using downloadable audio. It’s an easy quick fix for this type of unwanted noise.

In my opinion, the worst noise ever comes from harmfully loud sources where we have no way to avoid the noise or switch the sound to something safer. This includes air, road, and rail traffic noise, transit, appliances or consumer products, and noisy power tools or equipment used for household, construction, and landscaping activities.

Given the current public health crisis from preventable environmental noise, complaining about an easily changed phone alarm as “the worst noise ever” seems a huge over-exaggeration.

Jan L. Mayes is an international Eric Hoffer Award winning author in Non-Fiction Health. She is also a science enthusiast and newly retired audiologist still specializing in noise, tinnitus-hyperacusis, and hearing health. You can read more of Jan’s work at her site,