The most popular sounds on the Internet

With monthly searches exceeding 3.1 million, rain unanimously tops the list as the most popular sound on the internet. Crickets ranked as the second most popular sound, with just over 622,000 monthly searches.

Just like its rejuvenating effect in nature, the rhythmic sound of rain also seems to provide a sense of refreshment for the mind.

Our brains are drawn to patterns and routines, says Judy Ho, Ph.D., a California-based neuropsychologist and a member of the Forbes Health Advisory Board. Brains are constantly on the lookout for threats, but rhythmic patterns such as a steady, light rain signal relaxation. These signals send a message to the brain that it’s safe to turn off the high alert mode, she explains.

Rain is a type of pink noise, a sound that contains all the frequencies people can hear but with a more powerful focus on the lower frequencies and reduced loudness in the higher octaves. (By way of comparison, white noise provides all the frequencies humans can hear at equal intensity.) Research suggests that pink noise can help people sleep, although clinical evidence is limited. Relaxation benefits aside, such rhythmic sounds can also benefit people with tinnitus by masking any ringing or other noises in their ears.

The most popular man-made sounds

The most popular sounds on the Internet

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Sound seekers also seem to love a good round of clapping, as clapping tops the list of sounds made by the most popular people. And while the jury may disagree on the effectiveness of clap therapy, at least one study suggests that clapping could be an effective tool for brain stimulation.

Laughter takes second place, which researchers attribute as an easy way to lift the mood and reduce the production of stress hormones. The crunching of leaves, the ticking of clocks, church bells and airplanes taking off are also proving to be quite popular.

Demand for man-made sounds drops significantly after these findings, with steam train whistles and Ferrari engines garnering far less interest.

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