What sound floods you with nostalgia?

Pac-Man, the click-clack of a manual typewriter, the original Nokia ringtone - are any of these your favourite sound blast from the past?

Published on 23 March 2024

What sound floods you with nostalgia?

This year’s World Hearing Day (March 3) proved an opportunity for the retail group Specsavers to reveal its research into the emotional connection UK residents make between their auditory sense and their memory. What one sound from the 80s, 90s and 00s dominated those that make people feel nostalgic?

It was the original Nokia mobile phone ringtone for 27% of those surveyed. Next came the sound of manual typewriter keys, followed by that of VHS tape being inserted into a video player.

Other memorable sounds in the top 25 list include the sound of a rotary phone dialing, cassette tapes being rewound and the dial-up modem connecting to the internet.

Almost half of those surveyed (45%) agree sound is most important for memory recall over sight and smell.

Gordon HarrisonSpecsavers chief audiologist says: “When it comes to the science of nostalgia, our senses are amazing at picking up memory cues. Sound plays a huge role in triggering memories and the emotions associated with them.”

The survey revealed that 69% agree that sounds can even improve their quality of life. Yet 85% admitted they take their hearing for granted, with over one in four (27%) admitting they never protect their ears from exposure loud noises.

Source: Specsavers