If you tend to make special sound effects while munching on your favorite snack, be aware that those sounds might cause some people in the world to want to harm you. Don’t worry, they know they are not allowed to, but they might want to. Certain sounds that people make while eating, drinking, typing on a keyboard, or even breathing, really bother some people.
The Current Biology study found that in people with Misophonia, certain trigger sounds can cause an exaggerated reaction in the anterior insula cortex. This portion of the brain that connects our emotions with our senses is heightened in Misophonia sufferers, to the point where there is “abnormal functional connectivity.”
Also known as Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome, Misophonia is considered a disorder in the brain that makes common everyday sounds almost unbearable, even causing some to become enraged. Misophonia sufferers are typically bothered by eating and drinking sounds. Others dislike hearing people yawning, and even the sound of someone breathing.
People often make noise while eating such as chewing, swallowing, gulping, smacking and crunching. These sounds are known as triggers because they cause a reaction in some people. There are certain snack foods that just make noise when you eat them such as popcorn, potato chips, and crackers. However, these snacks are a little quieter when eaten with the mouth closed. Some people eat with their mouths open, causing the noises to amplify.
While proper etiquette dictates everyone should eat with their mouth closed, not everyone cares to heed to proper etiquette. People dealing with Misophonia have a difficult time with noises associated with eating and drinking. Even the rustle of the potato chip bag can be enough to set them off. It is hard for them to be in the same room with people if they are making these sounds.
Many avoid public places like the movies, or restaurants due to their extreme sensitivity to the noises people make while doing perfectly normal things. For years, people have suffered with this condition not knowing it had a name or that there was anything they could do about it. More people have become aware of the condition and can now manage it better by recognizing the sounds that trigger a reaction.
The Misophonia Association offers additional information and resources, as well as ongoing support for people who suffer with this condition. There is a membership opportunity in which the community of those who suffer can unite to help each other and offer support so people do not have to suffer alone.
Do common everyday noises bother you? Tell me about it here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter.