What’s the Worst Noise to Hear in the Middle of the Night?

A few nights ago, I woke up at 1:00 am to a dreadful sound: The beeping of a low-battery smoke detector.

Granted, it would be far worse if it were an actual smoke alarm, and my heart goes out to anyone who has dealt with home fires. But why is it that smoke alarm batteries always expire in the middle of the night?

I tried to ignore the sound, but once I heard it, I couldn’t unhear it. To make matters worse, the smoke alarm wasn’t in our condo–it was in the hallway, where the ceilings are 12 feet tall. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t reach it, and I proceeded with a fitful night of sleep.

It made me wonder which other sounds are simply the worst to hear in the middle of the night. We’re in St. Louis City, so on occasion we’ve heard gunshots (probably from quite far away, but guns are loud!). I’m equally sensitive to thunder…I really don’t like thunder.

It’s never happened, but the idea of someone breaking through our glass door in the middle of the night terrifies me.

Last, one sound we hear on a regular basis (around once a month) is long-haired Walter having a hairball at the foot of the bed. Usually one of us responds quickly enough to get him off the bed/carpet onto the hardwood floor. But why, Walter, must you purge hairballs in the middle of the night instead of during the day? It’s almost always at 3:00 am.

Again, there are far worse sounds than these to hear, particularly any involving health scares.

What’s the worst hypothetical noise to hear in the middle of the night, and what’s the worst noise you’ve actually heard in the middle of the night?

6 thoughts on “What’s the Worst Noise to Hear in the Middle of the Night?”

  1. The phone ringing. We are originally from Britain living in Canada for the last 30 years. When the phone rings in the middle of the night it probably means one of our relatives has passed away and we are getting a call from someone who doesn’t appreciate the 5 hour time difference.

  2. Worst sound/noise actually heard: Mad hysterical laughter.

    As a student I was in bed reading Stephen Kings It late at night and listening to some new music. The music finished at some point and I came onto a clown scene in the book. Unknown to me the album had a hidden track with some outtakes with mentioned sounds which kicked in perfectly for that section and drove my adrenaline levels nuts.

    Sepultura ‘Chaos A.D.’ was that album.

  3. Hearin the dog trying to throw up! HEG! HEG! HEG! HEG! THAT is the worst sound in the world. ESPECIALLY in the middle of the night!


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