Does the sound of your boyfriend’s chewing drive you insane? There’s a newly-recognized medical disorder where sufferers literally can’t stand the tiny sounds that other people make – like eating and breathing. In fact, the sounds cause a fight-or-flight stress reaction, and bring on instant, blood-boiling rage.
The condition is called misophonia. Loud sounds aren’t the problem. But sufferers go crazy over small, barely-audible sounds that don’t seem to bother most people, like chewing, slurping, sniffling, humming, and footsteps.
Neuroscientists at the University of Texas believe it’s caused by a genetic abnormality in the area of the brain that processes sound. It almost always begins in late childhood or early adolescence, and gets worse over time. Often getting so bad that sufferers don’t want to eat with others, or go to school.
One woman we read about can’t stand it when her dog licked its paws. Another can’t bear to hear the pop of the letter “p” in conversation. And when one 19-year-old hears sniffling or gum-chewing, her heart pounds, and her fists clench in anger!
There’s no known treatment for misophonia. And you don’t outgrow it, so most people learn to structure their lives around it. Say, by eating alone, using earplugs or white noise machines, and trying hypnosis.
If that sounds like you, check out the website SoundSensitivity.info.