ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, basically the tingles or goosebumps that you feel from different sounds or music. Everyone is different when it comes to which sounds actually trigger their response and while for the longest while ASMR was frowned upon.
While science is still struggling to figure out exactly what and why this happens (or in some cases, whether it happens at all) the general consensus is that a lot of the reactions are based on our evolution and our primate past.
The fact that a lot of the triggers are based around grooming isn’t a mistake, as primates have been found to get a ton of euphoria from grooming one another (or getting groomed) and scientists believe that that’s why haircuts are so relaxing.
So, without further ado let’s check out the top 15 ASMR trigger sounds.
Before we get into actual triggers, it’s good to also discuss other kinds of tingle-inducing phenomenon. Frission is ASMR that’s typically based on music. So, if none of the below work for you, try hopping on YouTube and typing in “Frission triggers” to perhaps find a song that works for you.
Have you ever heard a song that gives you goosebumps or actually makes you physically shiver? That’s Frission and it can be a bit more intense or longer lasting than ASMR.
There’s also a sub-Reddit dedicated to Frission that has some amazing examples but while a lot of the music is basically instrumentals, everyone has that song that just hits them a certain way (like a certain guitar solo or when the beat drops in EDM) that can range from the Beatles to Diplo. It’s the emotion behind it that really gets you.
14. Bob Ross
While this may touch on a few other categories, Bob Ross is such a boss that he deserves his own entry on this list. If you grew up in the 80’s or early 90’s then you’re certainly familiar with Bob Ross, the afro’d painting instructor from PBS back in that era.
Because of the way he speaks, his way of explaining things calmly and also the fact that he’s just an amazing painter, he’s able to not only lull you into a pile of goo but also provide that goo with some electrical impulses at the same time.
If there’s anyone person associated with ASMR it’s Ross, who’s actually seen a spike in sales of his old DVD’s thanks to the fact that people are realizing yet another thing that he’s great at… Or was great at, as he died in 1995 as people in Heaven need their tingles, too.
12. Scissors/Paper Cutting/Hair-Cutting
For some reason, some sounds are just relaxing or interesting to hear. One of those is the sound of scissors whether they’re just opening and closing, cutting paper or cutting one’s hair.
Now, a haircut in and of itself is one of the more relaxing things that can happen to a human and like other types of triggers on this list scientists believe that it has something to do with the grooming that primates do and that we used to do to one another (plus it just feels good to have your head touched).
So, perhaps we enjoy the sound of scissors to the point of tingles (or at least, some of us) because deep down we feel like grooming is coming, either way though, this could/should be higher on the list as it’s one of the main go-to role plays out there in the ASMR world.
If you’re a guy, check out some of the old school barbershop ASMR videos are amazing, as are the spa ones for the ladies out there.
13. Isolated Sounds
Isolated sounds may be the hardest type of ASMR to come across as they’re basically just one type of sound by itself with zero other sounds surrounding it. That’s a lot harder than it sounds to accomplish because (especially) depending on where someone lives, there’s always either ambient or background noise (or both).
However, there is a lot of great ASMR equipment out there that is capable of catching crystal clear sounds and while some of the examples sound a lot like other types of triggers, they’re actually quite different (like someone’s mouth and tongue moving before speaking, for example).
This is a next level ASMR trigger, though, as you really first have to identify which sound is your trigger and then finding someone that can isolate that. However, once you do that you’ll never have a tingle free day again.
11. Sleep Triggers
Sleep triggers are different than normal ASMR triggers (which can be meant to relax a person but generally are just in it for the tingle) as they’re meant to help you fall asleep, obviously. As social creatures, humans by definition actually don’t like being alone and that’s a big part of the media created for sleep ASMR.
While they’re generally soft speaking/whisper videos they’re different in that they gradually get quieter and quieter while the person hopefully falls asleep. It’s also designed to help a person focus on what’s being said or the feeling they’re getting rather than the things that typically run through a person’s head at night (which keeps them from falling asleep).
So, the next time you’re having a hard time falling asleep, pop a couple NyQuil tablets and YouTube Sleep ASMR, you’ll be out like a light in less than ten minutes. Or skip the NyQuil if you’re into that whole lucid dreaming thing.
10. Trigger Words
There are all sorts of different kinds of ASMR triggers and while a lot of people tingle it up to the sound of someone talking at a certain volume, or by speaking gibberish, they’re not specifically responding to the words themselves but rather the action of speaking.
However, there are people that get tingles from actual words themselves, as in the sound of someone speaking a specific word. For example, some people might get tingles from someone saying the word “vestibule,” and it seems like this is based (like a few other triggers) in the fact that the sound of a certain word bothers someone to the point that their brain can’t handle it.
Whispering is another example of that, or mouth sounds, it’s something that you really can’t handle so your brain calms you down by releasing endorphins and for some people that extends to a word that perhaps a family member mispronounced their entire lives. Either way… Vestible (You’re welcome!).
9. Mouth Sounds
Related to Trigger Words, or the theory behind how that whole thing works is mouth sounds. Perhaps the most divisive of all the ASMR triggers, mouth sounds are either tingle heaven for someone or a complete source of revulsion for another.
For example, mouth sounds can include the sound of one eating, kissing sounds, wet sounds or just general mouth sounds (opening and closing, smacking, etc.). Some triggers do walk the fine line between being annoying and being tingle heaven and mouth sounds clearly are the best representation of that.
However, if you are one of the people/weirdos that respond negatively to this sort of sound, you’re probably on the smarter end of the spectrum because it’s said that highly intelligent people respond strongly, and negatively, to some mouth sounds like people eating with their mouth full.
So, essentially, the difference is that you’re either smart and irritated or dumb and full of tingles. Ignorance is bliss, indeed. No offense?
8. Concentration on a Task
While Bob Ross touched on this a bit, there’s an entire category of ASMR triggers that are based on watching someone complete a task, or rather based on concentrating on a task. There’s a strange pleasure in watching someone who is working on something, complete that task.
From painting (like Bob Ross) to watching clip their nails, there’s pleasure in finding someone complete a task.
Typically the more precise and difficult the task, the better, as the tingles seem to come from the anticipation of what’s coming, so if you want to try this one out start with something that’s a bit more difficult but also something that most people can do or that you have done.
Then again, some of the more popular videos in this category are related to people folding towels and really doing everyday tasks that are just repetitive but somehow really satisfying.
This category also is closely associated with the visual ASMR triggers listed elsewhere on this list as you definitely have to watch these videos as well as listen to them, something that’s not required for most other triggers. So, if you’re attempting to go to sleep, this probably isn’t the trigger for you, but if you’re avoiding doing laundry, this might be perfect.
7. Pages Turning/Crinkle Sounds
There’s a fine line between the sound of pages turning and crinkle sounds as there’s a combination of things going on and it’s really the all you can eat buffest of ASMR triggers.
It combines the pleasure of watching a task being completed (reading), if someone is actually reading the book the sound of someone’s voice, also the cherry on top which is the sound of the pages actually turning which is similar to the acoustic sound trigger also on this list.
Crinkly things aren’t as complex but may be the best trigger of them all, despite the fact that a lot of people on YouTube don’t really know what crinkly means.
The right sort of crinkly is hard plastic, the sound of leaves for example, as opposed to the sound of any plastic they find being bent (a lot of the time sounds a lot like paper being rubbed, which is actually the definition of pages turning so perhaps there’s something to what they’re doing).
6. Acoustic Triggers
A lot of the types of triggers we’ve discussed involve some sort of talking, whether it be whispering or soft talking. Acoustic triggers do rely on sound, but in a different way, as it relies on a non-vocal sound that’s basically omnipresent.
A series of different ambient noises are the main triggers in this category and rely on things like ear cupping (someone cupping their hands over their microphone(s)) or by placing actual cups/glasses over the microphone(s) to create consistent, ambient and sometimes super intense sound.
A lot like the white noise machines that people use to fall asleep, ambient noise can really help someone’s mind begin to stop worrying about the day to day awfulness that is life and just lose themselves in their own mind(s) by helping them slowly drift away into the massive void that is one’s own subconscious like the ‘Sunken Place’ in the movie Get Out.
5. Visual ASMR
As the intro implied, different people respond to different types of ASMR… Differently. So while this is one of the more rare types of ASMR videos, because it’s so different it makes it this high on the list as it’s something that often works on people who can’t seem to find their trigger elsewhere.
Visual ASMR is most often a series of hand movements that includes another type of ASMR (in soft speaking or whispering).
The science behind ASMR isn’t really settled (although they do think it has something to do with grooming, a la primates who feel euphoria when grooming) but it is sort of amazing that your brain can create euphoria simply by watching someone move their hands and really makes you think!
So, while the grooming thing makes sense one has to wonder why the hand movements actually make you start to feel all tingly, perhaps that’s why magic works as slight of hand could make us all tingly to the point of ignoring the fact that the eight year old attempting to palm a quarter is really, really bad even by eight year magician standards.
4. Personal Attention
Human beings are by nature, social creatures. Studies show that loneliness or especially isolation are one of the most dangerous things an older person can endure, as they have a way lower life expectancy than people who have contact with other people.
This type of ASMR touches on that as it’s really the human interaction and human touch implied that not only gives people tingles, but also a general sense of well-being. There are multiple types of personal attention ASMR videos, such as visiting the dentist or sitting in a classroom or ever something as simple as getting one’s ears played with.
This may be the strangest tingle inducer, as while there’s some relaxation at the dentist if they give you the gas, typically the dentist is a top two fear for most people so the idea of some internet stranger reaching in your mouth and/or insulting the state of your teeth seems like a strange way to relax.
3. “Physical Touch”
There are different forms of ASMR and some are a bit more interactive than others. With physical touch, often people will listen to someone (soft talking/whispering) who is “giving” them a head massage.
As they do that, the person who is looking for their tingles will use a tool called by many names but is perhaps best known as a Genie head massager. Despite the name, it’s actually just used for tingles (unless your wish is to get tingles) and it’s actually been said to cause some of the most intense tingles of them all.
It’s a tool that you often see those poor souls who work at kiosks at the mall offering to try on people, and now that know what it can do perhaps next time you’ll take them up on it, only after finding the appropriate video and headphones, of course.
2. Scratching and Tapping
A lot of people that make their living by posting ASMR related videos (what a world we live in) have microphones that are specifically built for ASMR enthusiasts. The mics are actually two sets of microphones that have plastic ears on each side to represent each side of the head (as the sound moves from side to side).
One of the most triggery of the triggers takes advantage of that by simply scratching and tapping on the microphone/ears. Sometimes they will also tap on other objects (near the mic) or on tables. People with long nails are especially good at triggering people, and to bring it to the next level they often scratch as well which, for some, is about as good as it gets.
If you’re thinking that this may be your access point to the world of ASMR, definitely make sure that you’re searching for a binaural video (the people with the microphones described above) as closing your eyes with your headphones on and listening to a binaural video of tapping really makes you feel like there’s someone in the room with you.
For most people, whispering is where they first discover that they’re receptive to ASMR in the first place.
A vast majority of ASMR videos on Reddit involve whispering and are done in a binaural fashion (which means that the sounds are recorded with two microphones which means that you can hear the sound in each ear, separately (so, basically, you can hear things as if the person was right in front of you)).
A lot of these videos are also basically gibberish/inaudible which really just plays up the frustration that it creates in your brain which somehow triggers the release of some sort of chemical in your brain and causes mild euphoria that runs from your brain to down your spine.
It’s a great way to fall asleep as well, and whispering is known specifically for it’s ability to do that (especially if the person is whispering to you that you should fall asleep).