I've noticed that if I'm in my inventory, crafting, or otherwise an extra button input away, it's pretty much a guaranteed explosion. I'll still likely survive it, but I don't want to come to terms with the fact that the ground is guaranteed to randomly explode.
I always craft behind closed doors exactly for this reason, it's just not fair.
Keeps you on your toes is all I gotta say. Makes survival that much more dangerous and exciting at the same time.
For me, "exciting" is an understatement.
Yesterday I realized that the sneaky and silent Creepers are the reason I am so terrified in this game. Zombies and Skeletons don't bother me, but I am constantly in a state of agitation if I am in a place where a Creeper can sneak up. It is completely illogical since I have super enchanted armor and wouldn't die even if a Creeper did explode next to me.
Yesterday I defeated the Ender Dragon and slaughtered dozens of Endermen, which is something I always thought I would never do because I thought it was beyond my abilities. I did one practice run in a Creative world first to see what it would be like and died 3 times from the Dragon's Breath before I realized what was happening. In my survival world I knew how to react to the Dragon's Breath and the battle was easy-peasy. It did last a long time because I am not a good shot with the bow, but it wasn't terrifying, I was very relaxed and I was never in danger of dying.
Here comes the part about the Creepers. I was relaxed during the dragon fight because there are no Creepers in the End!
The terror for me wasn't in the fight with the dragon, but in what I had to do to get to the End. When I finally found the Stronghold to get to the End Portal, I was terrified to explore it because of Creepers. I ended up blocking off all the corridors leading away from the room with the End Portal. I would rather fight the Ender Dragon a dozen times than explore the stronghold and the ravine that cuts through it.
If Creepers had an idle sound I might be less fearful, I don't know.
I doubt an idle sound would make them less scary because they're still quite dangerous and unpredictable even if you know they're coming, and I bet your irrational fear is because of blocks and mobs around you being damaged or hurt rather than your being hurt. Strongholds are also a pain to explore for many other reasons, the fact that ravines break them wide open being one of the biggest ones.