Decipher mysterious sounds with this matching game

From movie sound effects to cryptic waveforms, sound takes on many forms.
Sounds can play tricks on you—can you decipher the truth?
Sounds can play tricks on you—can you decipher the truth? Pixabay

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

We know you are bored at home right now—we are too. Here are some puzzles and brainteasers to challenge your family and friends with, either in person or over video chat.

Clamor comes in many packages, from abstract waveforms, to countless spoken words in thousands of languages, to mathematically complex values like the decibel. With such cryptic disguises, it’s no surprise that noise plays tricks on us. Reveal the truth with this trio of matching games.


waveform matching
In the studio, recorded audio appears onscreen as waveforms, as shown below. Can you pair the spoken words with their corresponding squiggles? PopSci
Waveform Answers (Spoiler!)

1B, 2E, 3C, 4A, 5D


Onomatopoeia matching
Folks’ verbalizations of animal clatter shifts depending on their locale. Can you connect a ­critter’s language of origin to its onomatopoeia? PopSci
Onomatopoeia Answers (Spoiler!)

1B, 2D, 3E, 4A, 5C

Sci-fi Special Effects

Sci-fi SFX matching
Sound designers score a variety of sci-fi features, from velociraptors to cyborgs. Can you match the theatrical racket with its real-life counterpart? PopSci
Sci-fi SFX Answers (Spoiler!)

1D, 2C, 3A, 4E, 5B

This story originally published in the Noise, Winter 2019 issue of Popular Science.