Have you ever sat down next to someone at a family gathering or with a few of your friends at a restaurant when suddenly you hear someone chewing out loud? It sounds like Mr. Ed is smacking his teeth after eating some peanut butter, or something. The sound is absolutely disgusting, but for some people, it’s more than annoying. There’s an actual legitimate psychiatric condition called misophonia, and there are ways you can cope with this condition.Your stomach turns as you listen to all that chomping and chewing, and you’d swear that it’s going to drive you insane unless you put an end to it.
But when you tell anyone else about this or ask someone to stop chewing so loud they look at you as if you were simply insane, but you’re really not, just so you know.
In reality, the condition isn’t limited to having a fear of someone who is chewing loudly. It can be pretty much any noise that really bugs you to the point of insanity.
It can be caused by chewing noises, or it could involve some fidgeting in their chair or wiggling their foot. Regardless, it causes a sound that will make you fly off the handle.
It’s known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome and it’s often caused a sound made orally, usually when someone eats, breathes, yawns, or even whistles.
Some of the reactions could be anything from anxiety to visible uncomfortableness or even disgust and an urge to flee before the reactions become too severe.
It can cause anger, rage, outbursts, hatred for the individual, panic, fear, emotional distress, and even a desire to hurt or even take the life of whoever is making the noise.
This condition can make it difficult if not impossible to have a normal social life. You’d wind up having to avoid going to restaurants and theaters unless you want to risk snapping at your friends.
Most people with this condition end up eating in a separate room to avoid hearing their spouses or partners chewing and avoid having a verbal or physical outburst.
It often happens to girls between the ages of 9 and 13 and sadly, doctors don’t really know what happens, but they do believe it’s not all in someone’s head.
Doctors think that our brains have a way of reacting to specific sounds and trigger responses in our bodies, in this case, negatively, but it’s not a problem with a patient’s auditory system.
This makes it difficult to treat because instead of treating misophonia, doctors mistake the symptoms for obsessive-compulsive or bipolar disorder.
When a particular noise is heard, this can cause an adverse reaction in the individual’s emotional control mechanism, which causes them to react in ways they normally wouldn’t.
As the brain goes into overdrive, the person might start showing all kinds of physical responses, including a great deal of sweating and an increase in heart rate, similar to an anxiety attack.
Most of us dislike people who chew with their mouth open, but that’s just bad manners. We also can’t stand someone who taps their pen at the office or in class, but with misophonia, the sound is unbearable.
MRI scans have proven that there is a difference in the brain structure in those living with this condition and the way they react to specific noise triggers versus those who don’t have this disease.
While putting it under OCD makes perfect sense, others aren’t sure because this condition, or rather the research going into it is relatively new.
As if society wasn’t complicated enough, someone with misophonia will usually feel so overwhelmed that they’ll wind up feeling isolated as they avoid everyone, which can lead to depression.
Even hair twirling and nose rubbing can trigger a reaction in people with misophonia, but sounds seem to be the main trigger, and can also include, crickets chirping or ticking of clocks as well.
In fact, sound therapy may ultimately be the key to living with this condition, so some therapists suggest trying a hearing aid that creates white noise similar to a waterfall.
Of course, there’s always that conventional type of treatments that include counseling, because talking really is the best therapy, and in extreme cases, you can try antidepressants.
For starters, stress can aggravate the condition even more, so consider reducing stress by exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.
You can’t avoid the world forever, but you can create quiet areas in your home where no one will bother you with their noisy habits and drive you insane.
You can always rely on the Misophonia Association, which has several groups across the country, and even holds conventions, which allow doctors and patients to brainstorm new solutions.
There are plenty of social media groups where people with misophonia are able to share their own strategies on how to cope with this nightmare, so you can lead a normal life.