Arnal and teammates probed what sorts of sounds alarm humans. They found that “One strategy, exploited by alarm signals, consists in emitting fast but perceptible amplitude modulations in the roughness range (30–150 Hz). . . . Rough sounds synchronise activity throughout superior temporal regions, subcortical and cortical limbic areas, and the frontal cortex, a network classically involved in aversion processing.” Rough sounds from 40-80 Hz are especially unpleasant for us to hear. The 40-80 Hz range is where the frequencies of babies crying, human screams, and many alarms are found.
Luc Arnal, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Laurent Spinelli, Anne-Lise Giraud, and Pierre Megevand. 2019. “The Rough Sound of Salience Enhances Aversion Through Neural Synchronisation.” Nature Communications, vol. 10, article 3671, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11626-7