Sounds most likely to trigger happy memories include birdsong, a waterfall and purring cat

Sound is also said to set off the best memories ahead of sight and even smell, according to the research.

Others said a cat purring, trees blowing in the wind, a crackling fireplace and church bells would take them to another place in their memories.

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

Gordon Harrison, chief audiologist at Specsavers, which commissioned the research, said: “Sound impacts most aspects of our lives, so it is no surprise that certain sounds trigger happy youthful memories – particularly when it comes to sounds of the outdoor.

“However, given the importance of our hearing, it is important to be checked out regularly to ensure such memories aren’t lost along with reduced hearing.”

The kettle boiling, the radio playing and airplanes flying overhead, also featured in the top 40 positively-triggering sounds, according to the over 50s.

Sounds from the outdoors trigger good times for 67 percent of adults, which is why 78 percent 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”.

More than three-quarters also said that as they grow older, they treasure their happy memories more.

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

And nine in ten confessed they took their hearing for granted in their younger years, according to the research, carried out through OnePoll.

Feelings of happiness, peace and relaxation are felt by respondents when they hear sounds of the natural world – with 91 percent spending a lot of time outdoors.

So, it’s no surprise that 45 percent worry about their hearing getting worse, therefore losing the potential to have pleasurable memories triggered in their mind.

Broadcaster and Countryfile presenter, John Craven, understands this first-hand. He said: “I started wearing hearing aids 15 years ago when I realised I wasn’t hearing certain voices and sounds.

“Outdoors I wasn’t hearing the gentler sounds of nature that everyone else was.

“But hearing aids have solved that problem and it is a real delight to experience the rustle of leaves, the pitter-patter of raindrops, the distant roar of thunder as well as anyone with normal hearing.”

Gordon Harrison, Specsavers’ chief audiologist, added: “Hearing loss is common and affects people of all ages.

“There are a range of hearing aids to suit all lifestyles, budgets and hearing needs so no one needs to suffer in silence and can keep revisiting their memories for years to come.”


  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 baa-ing
  20. Seagulls squawking
  21. A train going over tracks
  22. Cows moo-ing
  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

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