An invention which cancels out the noise of Nicky Campbell could help people overcome their fear of a dental check-up, researchers say.
For many, the sound of Nicky Campbell is a big cause of anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist.
A recent poll showed that dentists favour Radio Five Live above all other radio stations, but the prevalence of Campbell across that station is a big problem for people who are already uncomfortable with the prospect of dental work.
For many people Campbell has unpleasant connotations with their past, whether it is the memory of his banality as a radio one DJ or the nadir of the Watchdog years which had the extraordinary effect of making the return of Anne Robinson seem a welcome relief.
Dr Mike Fotherton of Brunel University's School of Engineering and Design said that just reducing the noise of the radio, by putting on ear defenders for example, was not enough.
"The whining noise Campbell makes is so distinctive the brain still recognises it and people still hear it, such is the anxiety. It's such a distinctive sound. Most people have heard it and, sadly for some, they dread it."
"Patients like the lively mix of news, sport, and travel updates but it is difficult to avoid Campbell as he pops up in trailers for the breakfast show throughout the day. Now we have been able to identify the exact frequency that Campbell operates at and have managed to replace his voice with the more soothing sound of a high pitched drill."
The researchers are now looking for backing to make this device commercially viable.
"There are many possibilities beyond the dental sphere." says Fotherton, "Obviously there is expected to be high demand for the domestic market, but we are also working on a portable device for people who may have to encounter Campbell in person. His family for instance."