Your car's horn could soon sound like a quacking duck

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Researchers in South Korea have discovered that many find the sound of a beeping car horn too stressful – and suggested it could be replaced by the sound of a duck’s quack. 


Soongsil University looked at the development of vehicle klaxons since their introduction in 1908 and how modern-day sounds could be changed to reduce distress.


The team of scientists gathered 100 volunteers and played a variety of modified car horn sounds, in which participants had to rate them based on a variety of elements including stress and loudness.


Professor Myung-Jin Bae, lead researcher, said: “In our study we used the existing historic klaxon sound source, but made some modification concerning its volume and rhythm with duration time by adding a power controller.


“Our new Klaxon sound can immediately alert the pedestrians of the danger while also reducing the unpleasantness and stress of the sound.”


The research participants were asked to rank potential car horns on a scale of one to five in areas such as stress and loudness. A duck’s quack was found to fit the bill, with the best combination of low-stress and loudness.


A Duck’s quack was found to fit the bill, with the best combination of low-stress while also being attention grabbing.


However, Mike Stigwood, a consultant with noise-pollution specialist MAS Environmental, couldn’t disagree more. He said: “No, absolutely not. You need a noise that triggers the sense in an alarming way and immediately draws your attention – which is what sirens and car horns currently do.”


A necessary tool for driving, the main function of the car horn is to alert drivers and passing pedestrians of immediate danger. But it seems some modern-day sounds have become particularly irritating for a number of people.


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