Thursday, April 29, 2010

Misophonia

Miso-what? Misophonia - a form of decreased sound tolerance. I just learned that this is an actual condition the other day and boy am I relieved... let me tell you why.

I have amazing hearing. If you are three rooms away from me and you drop a penny, I will hear it. If someone's smoke detector is going off two houses away, I will hear it. In fact, I will get out of bed in the middle of the night and go outside to make sure that it's a neighbor's house and not mine that is potentially on fire. Seriously. You might be thinking, wow, that's incredible! And you'd be right, it is pretty cool. For example, if you're standing across the room, whispering to your friend, there's a pretty good chance I can hear you. Good for me, maybe not for you, right? Sometimes it gets me in trouble though when I accidentally laugh out loud at what you said and then you know that I could hear you. "How on earth did you hear that??" Yeah, I get that a lot.

But there's something else that happens to me that I've always hated and can't control and before Tuesday I never understood why. The sound of chewing makes me crazy. Literally. I mean violently angry sometimes. You know how the sound of nails on a chalkboard sends shivers down your spine? Well, sometimes I actually feel as though my ears will bleed when I hear that sound. Noises that typically just annoy other people make me literally want to crawl out of my skin. And when I say literally, I mean LITERALLY. When I'm tired or if I just woke up I'm even more sensitive. It's the chewing though that causes me to turn green and break out of my clothes in an Incredible Hulk style rage.

Ever since I was little this has been a problem. Some people chew more loudly or awkwardly than others. For example, my Dad's mouth is like a cavern, I swear the crunching in there echoes. And my brother eats like a grazing cow, smacking and smooshing and ugh god it makes me shudder. The worst thing of all is crunching. Carrots, pretzels, chips, oh my goodness it rocks me to the core. If someone is eating cereal three rooms away with the doors closed in between I can STILL HEAR IT.

I knew when I started this job that this was going to be an issue. I have never been in an open workstation environment with a lot of other people. Every day someone that sits a few seats away snacks on chips. Someone will eat a salad or some pita chips. Another person eats carrots in the afternoon. I wonder if anyone has ever seen my head whip around to seek out the offender, or the glare that I send their way. I am ashamed to even admit this, but I seriously get so angry that I want to punch something, or someone... it is absolutely horrible.

If you've not experienced this, it's impossible to understand. You might be thinking, just get over it! Learn to deal with it! Ignore it! You're insane! Trust me, I've spent my entire life learning how to cope with this. Thankfully I am allowed to use earbuds at work so if I'm getting particularly sensitive, I just put the music on. If my Dad sits down in the living room with carrots, I leave the room. Fortunately, he understands and doesn't think I'm a total freak show. I noticed that my Mom will try to chew quietly, which actually just drives me even more insane because knowing that she's trying makes me pay more attention to it. Plus, when you try to chew quietly, you end up having to chew your food longer... I'd rather you just chomp on it and finish it fast! But really, this is my issue and I try very hard to not make it known that I'm dying on the inside. I have learned very well to cope with it. I even have been trying lately to desensitize myself to it. If I notice someone is chewing and it starts to bother me, I deliberately keep listening and calm myself down. Sometimes though I just can't handle it and I have to leave the room or plug in my earbuds. You know all of those tv commercials where they amplify the sound of someone chewing... like Twix or Raisin Bran Crunch or Kit Kat? I have to change the channel!

It's strange because my own chewing doesn't bother me. At all. Strange, huh? The other day I suddenly felt the need to do a google search about this issue and right away I learned about Misophonia. I couldn't believe that this is an actual neurological condition. It's not very well known or researched and some people think it's a psychological issue from a bad childhood experience. I had a great childhood. I don't believe that in my case, this is true. I do believe that it's a wiring problem somewhere in there. I just have super sensitive ears. Right now, someone is talking and she's particularly loud and it's annoying, but it is what it is. I just try really hard to not let it bother me and if it is bothering me, use the music. Now that I know that it's a legit condition, I feel a lot better about it and I actually think that maybe I can work on that desensitizing thing. It's worth a shot!

I wanted to write about this in case there are any other people out there that are dealing with this. Know that you are not alone! And you're not crazy, this is real! If you're a person that knows someone that talks about their sensitive ears, please have some compassion. It's a very painful condition and it's no joke. I'm really glad that I'm not just a psychopath though, seriously.

85 comments:

Kat said...

Hahaha You describe everything so perfectly!

My dad is the worst, his jaw cracks and I literally feel nauseous. Not his fault, and I used to feel bad when I noticeably cringed and left the room.

My roommate purposely smacks his lips and chews with his mouth open. It's just how he eats, I understand, but I tend not to stay in the same room as him.

And yeah, it's worse if they try to be quiet and eat slowly. Thankfully my boyfriend eats quickly and somehow if he's making annoying sounds I feel comforted knowing it'll be over with soon.

I haven't really figured out how to deal with this or get over it. I tend to just remove myself from the situation.

Aubree Cherie said...

I felt like i had written this post... Everything you said is spot-on for me. I've been struggling with this every day for about ten years, it started when I was 13/14. My parents told me I needed to grow up, my boyfriends didn't last long because inevitably they're chewing was so unbearable I dumped them, and no matter how much I practiced self denial (forced myself to listen to it, etc), it didn't/doesn't improve.

You're so right though, having it be an actual condition makes the world seem a little better. Because I definitely thought I must be the rudest, meanest, insensative person in the world! Which is ironic, because apart from this challenge I face, I'm easy going, friendly, and love to have fun.

Sorry that this comment is so long. This is really the first time I've been able to talk with someone else about this that doesn't roll their eyes at me in frustration!

I'm not sure where you currently live, but we should get together and hang out sometime.. and NOT chew! :D

~Aubree Cherie

Saz said...

Heya, I came across this entry because I have a google alert set up for Misophonia.

I've had this for about 10 years or so (am 20 now) and it started with my dad and his eating noises, I still can't stand them. I understand how difficult it is to deal with but recently the recognition of it has been a lot higher.

This website may be useful if you haven't come across it already:

http://www.misophonia-uk.org/


Kind Regards,

Sarah W

Kim said...

OMG...noise drives me insane, unless I am making it. It isn't always people eating, but other noise.

Hubby thinks I am nuts!

adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com said...

Thank you for this! I think Luke has it, he hears everything and if I run a fan on low even, it drives him absolutely nuts! He is only 2 and he is always coming up to me saying, "Mommy, that's loud, turn it off."

Mrs. Ed said...

I am hosting a gf web carnival this month. If you are interested:Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten-Free

guyfitzm1 said...

Dear Jen

Thank you so much for publicising your experiences of misophonia. It really helps others to know that they are not alone.

Guy Fitzmaurice
Misophonia UK

Anonymous said...

(sorry if this has appeared thrice - my finger slipped on something and then I clicked on something else! )

CatBar (not really 'anonymous' but can't ever get that Google thing to work for me) said....

I feel I must be unique in this in that my sensitivities are any sort of impact sound caused/made by people, however low level the noise actually is.

Ie - someone slamming a fridge door really distresses me. Even someone slamming down a lid (or any sort of flap, however small) is really repulsive to me and I feel like a huge shock has gone right through me!

People who tap the table as they speak really get up my craw as well.

I don't know if this counts as Misophonia but my feelings towards the 'sound-maker' are ones of RAGE and DETESTATION!

Allie said...

hey jen -- I definitely have overly sensitive hearing, and I too work in an open environment, it definitely takes some getting used to, I listen to music (LOVE NPR's The Concert for classical if you want something low-key) -- and I would also recommend getting a little fan on your desk that makes loud white noise -- I have to use one to sleep, Vornado is the best!

Jen said...

WOW Thanks so much everyone for sharing your stories and suggestions, this is a lot more common than I thought! I'm glad I wrote about it!

viv said...

OMG. I just randomly came across your blog and found this post. I am EXACTLY the same way. Chewing noises make me lose my mind - I can barely eat in the same room as my dad unless we're at a restaurant so I can't hear. And the ads where food is crunching or liquid is pouring/glugging?!? I seriously get nauseated. I can't stand hearing my apartment neighbors walking around. I make do with white noise (air filter 24/7) but it seriously drives me nuts. Nice to know I am not alone. :D

Whole Heart and Soul said...

No joke - I have the exact same thing! I have perfect hearing and also have the chewing issue. I get so angry when people eat I have to leave the room sometimes! Crazy!! I never knew there was a condition!
By the way, I also am a UC sufferer. I had my colon removed as a result almost two years ago. I have a blog: WholeHeartAndSoul.blogspot.com if you are interested.
I'm a vegetarian too! Sounds like we have a lot in common!
Love your blog!
Abby

Whole Heart and Soul said...

Jen,
Please do feel free to post my blog on your site. That's why I put it out there!
Abby

Anonymous said...

THIS IS ME. Except, I hate sniffing. hate it hate it hate it. it isn't just annoying. it makes me so angry and i feel crazy most of the time, but i cant help it. there are certain places i actually avoid. i know the different kinds of sniffing and can even predict a sniffer. i know it sounds rediculous but i am so hapy there are other people like this out there!

James Mettler said...

Jen,
I am sitting here at my desk almost in tears after finding your post while searching the net for informatin on hyper sensitive hearing. I'm 47 now, and have been bothered by eating noises since early childhood. My father was the worst offender. He's 86 now, and I still cannot eat in the same room with him. He could make eating a marshmallow the most aggravating experience for me, and no one ever understood why I got so upset and had to leave the room. Even today, as I sit and eat dinner with my partner watching TV in the evening, I will get up and leave the room suddenly in a panic - and run to the bathroom, shut the door, and turn on the shower to drown out the noise from the eating. I'll sit leaning against the vanity counter and rock my torso back and forth with my hands over my ears until I finally calm down. I'll try to ignore it or tune it out, but my peripheral vision is drawn to the offender's mouth and jaw, and every time the jaws come together for another crushing bite of food, I wince in anticipation of the noise it's going to make. I feel like an idiot, and it's so embarassing at times, but the sound gives me the same feeling as if there were roaches in my head, and I was screaming to make them get out (I know that's a drastic description, but it's the reaction I have that I can't describe any other way except absolute and total disgust and revulsion). I can't participate in normal family activities because of this. I will fly into an uncontrollable rage at the constant clacking of a spoon when someone is eating cereal, and like you said, they can be across the house three rooms away, with walls and doors in between - AND I CAN STILL HEAR EVERYTHING! The chewing, though, is the one sound that is so offensive to me. Of course, I'm the "crazy one" and I'm the one with "the problem," and I should "just get over it." Easier said than done, and the lack of understanding by others isolates me even more. I will look into Misophonia, and thank you for posting this information. You made my day by helping me realize I'm not the only one in the world who has this condition. Thank you so much. Jim, Los Angeles, California.

Jane Nixon said...

I just found out about misophonia last night. I have a form of autism and I know that sensitivities to certain stimuli such as touch, sight, or taste can through people with ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) way off, but I always thought that my case with sound sensitivity was peculiar because I am, 90% of the time, not bothered by sounds I make. I am still a student in high school and sometimes it gets so bad that my mother has to come get me from school. I read the "Symptoms" section on the Wikipedia article for Misophonia and I felt like I was reading my life story. :P My siblings don't understand and sometimes make noises to bother me, but I think my parents (particularly mother) are pretty accepting and try to get me through it. It can be extremely difficult and sometimes it affects my grades (can't complete tests when other kids are tapping pencils and sniffling!), but I'm going to start getting assistance soon.

Jen said...

I am so glad that people find this post when they are searching the net for answers regarding this condition. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories with me and I'm glad I could share mine with you! I've begun to take this on as a challenge to get over. There are days when I really just need to walk away but for the most part, when a noise is bothering me, I recognize that it's MY issue and I try to move beyond it. Learning about this condition has been such a blessing! The funniest thing about all of this? I'm in the process of falling for a guy that chews with his mouth open.... imagine that. My life has been a series of challenges that I've had to overcome and this is certainly another one. Keep your heads up my friends!!

Anonymous said...

I also have just learned about the condition. I'm 51 years old, and I've been bothered by chewing since I was in high school. It's interesting how many people have noted that it is their father's chewing that bothers them most. That was certainly the case for me. Initially it was only the chewing sounds of people I knew well that bothered me. Now everybody bugs me. As is the case with most of those who've posted, I am not only bothered by chewing sounds but a multitude of other sounds as well -- the list seems to be growing. I cannot stand the sound of a spoon hitting a dish, typing, my dog licking herself (I suppose that fits under the chewing category - YUK!), breathing, sniffling, most types of fidgeting sounds, and simply watching people eat with their mouths open even if I cannot hear them. Within the past year, I have come to be equally disturbed by others' movements -- the action of moving their arm to eat (i.e. a bucket of popcorn), working a crossword puzzle, shaking a leg, sliding their fingers on a wet glass or bottle. If the movement is consistent or predictable, it's really annoying. My poor husband (of 24 years) has had about all he can take with it and the stress it has been put on him trying his best to avoid upsetting me. Our marriage is at risk now. The list of sounds and motions that bother me is growing. I've been in therapy for years. Seventeen years ago, I went back to therapy (after about five years in therapy dealing with issues of having been sexually abused). My therapist thought the anger I developed in response to chewing sounds was related to unsolved anger towards my step-father (the abuser). That sounded like a logical cause for me. Still, many years later I've successfully dealt with issues related to sexual abuse but continue to face feelings of rage associated with sounds. My response to the sounds/movements are anger, rage, as well as a desire to physically hurt the offender. My heart starts beating faster, my hands start shaking, and I feel like I'm going to explode! Learning about Misophonia as a condition doesn't solve the problem, but I feel better knowing that I'm not alone, and I'm not crazy. I'd like to try desensitizing therapy. As with the others who have posted, I am otherwise easy to get along with, enjoy humor, and love to socialize. I'm not bothered by these sounds if I'm eating which makes life a lot more easy for me. I am sad for those who cannot enjoy a meal with others.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just found out about misophonia a couple months ago, before that I thought I was crazy and needed professional help. Its great to know that I'm not crazy. Everything you described is exactly how I would describe it. The sound of crunching and chewing makes me either want to cry or hurt this person. I also sit 'open concept' at work and when i hear the sound of chip bags opening I run, I can even tell which vegetable/fruit they're eating. I found celery and apples are the worst. Thank you for posting this.

Tracy
Canada

Kelly said...

Wow, wow, wow, I can't believe there are people in the same boat as me. I am glad to have a name for this and that it is a condition, it certainly helps me not feel like I belong in the loony bin. I think the sensitivity to chewing sound started from my dad too, and then there's snoring, loud throaty breathing, and dogs licking themselves. I seriously hate how this impacts my life, my poor husband, I can't stand how it makes me feel anger towards him when he did nothing wrong! I have an 11 month old baby and her eating doesn't bug me, THANK GOD, but honestly I'm so afraid that some switch will go off and my kids will drive me nuts too. I really need to overcome this for everyone else's sakes. I will be seeking help that's for sure. Thanks everyone for telling your story, it has given a lot of peace to my mind!!

Anonymous said...

I just found out about Misophonia 3 days ago and I literally cried because I was so happy! It feels great knowing that I am not the only one that feels this way! You are completely right though, even though I have suffered from this my entire life, it is NOT easy. I was misdiagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at 11 years old, but I always wondered why my symptoms never matched with the typical OCD case...10 years later I had the idea to google my symptoms and I found misophonia! My irritations haven't really been too much of the chewing noises, but they include any low hums such as washing machines/dryers, air conditioners/heaters, and the worst is cars driving by my house (I have a much longer list, but these are currently the most irritating to me). Strangely enough cars driving by only irritate me when I am in MY house because of how muffled the engine sound is...it's the worst sound in the world to me, and like you described before, I literally want to crawl out of my skin. I also have visual irritations such as shaking your foot/leg, twitching/tapping your fingers, etc. But for the sounds, fortunately, like most misophonia sufferers, I have discovered earplugs and I can live a normal life at home! Although these feelings never completely go away, feels like these earplugs muffle my brain's sensitivity to all these noises, so it is bareable. I would highly reccommend trying some if you haven't already. I use the water proof gummy type earplugs. They work the best! Anyways, just am so thankful to have found out about my condition and that I am not alone. Such a comfort!

jenni said...

Oh my gosh. This is me. Sounds at work are the worst. I can hear people talking down the hall from my desk. Listening to people crunch chips or popcorn makes my blood boil. I have a co-worker that will clip her fingernails at her desk and the sound drives me crazy. Another co-worker will listen to music on her computer but won't use headphones. The sound is just low enough that I can't hear the actual words of the song but it is still so annoying. I feel like I can't say anything because then I'm the crazy one. At home, my dogs nails clipping on the wood floor bothers me enough to tell her to get back on the carpet. Ha ha! I also can't stand the sound of her licking herself.

I am so glad I found your post. It's awful that so many of us suffer from this but good to know we're not alone.

bel said...

I recently discovered that yes, this is a true syndrome/disorder and that I am not alone! Reading your descriptions just made me laugh and sigh in relief that I am not the only person who wants to go beat the crap out of the person eating carrots in my office or chewing gum on the bus. Now, to figure out how to cope with it is the challenge! Thanks for posting!

Kristen said...

Spot on my friend. I'm right there with you. It's SO FREAKING HORRIBLE. A curse. You're so right when you say if you don't have it you can't understand it. My dad and sister think I'm insane but I seriously can't stand to be around them when they're going at the food. People think it sounds ridiculous but that just makes me even more mad. I wish those people could have this DISEASE for a day. Anyways....thanks for posting. We are in the same boat.
P.S. I haven't eaten a Kit Kat since that god awful commercial came out.

Joanne said...

Hello fellow sufferers. I came across some misophonia information about a year ago and I was so relieved. All my life I have been told to just ignore the eating noises of others. Yeah, if it was that easy I would have done it!.
I don't go anywhere with out ear plugs. I have to wear them at the movies, (even though I refuse to go during typical busy times)and at all restaurants. If I meet someone that I like but they are a noisy eater, all bets are off and I won't be friends with that person. I just can't subject myself to the misery.
Pen clicking, fingernail tapping, foot tapping, hell any tapping or repetitive noises will drive me absolutely insane. And of course the number 1 worst of all is any eating noises.
There is a post on you tube about a guy who also suffers with this disorder. You have to see it!
Hang in there and know you are not alone.

Anonymous said...

I have been suffering from this for about 8 years now. I always knew there was something wrong because I'm usually a very tolerant person, but with certain sounds I just couldnt help feeling such great anger!! Its mainly my family I cant stand. Like my mom TALKING. Is anyone else bothered by someones voice?? When people walk bare foot or with socks on the floor I get really mad. I have to tell them to pick up their feet when they walk. Or when they swallow ugh! Hate it. My dad tells me I should learn to be more tolerant and cope with peoples differences.. yeah. Like I havent tried! I cant help it and no one ive told is really comprehensive. Like its been said... only having it to undersand :/
Well it is nice to know we are not alone and there are others with this condition. That reminds me... I have been told its all in my head and stuff like that and thats its not a condition. Uhh i dont know what gets me angrier. Listening to certain sounds/voices, or being told that! MMM ill go with the sounds lol but the other one is pretty close.

Anonymous said...

WOW boy am i relieved to have found out this is an actual condition to be taken seriously!
All my life, ive been hiding and shying away from the noise that annoys: the kitchen when there are many ppl, the utensils scraping that last bit out, crunchy food munching, the cutting of vegetables, also when someone eats chips OUT OF THE BAG, repeating the crinkle everytime, like its so hard to get a bowl? (anyone notice ALOT of our instances relate to food?) and all else where there are door creaks, nail clipping, dropping water is like chinese torture, all analog clocks have at one time or another been shoved under couch pillows, typing especially, I remember asking when i was younger 'how do you concentrate on anything with all this noise?' all responses were more or less 'you just do' or' ignore it'. i felt like a lazy excuse ridden nervous wreck for not being able to function with the noise. i slept with earplugs blasting music and was screamed at being told i would go deaf, and replied that at least id have some relief! i fantasize about stabbing my eardrums with chopsticks sometimes, i spent a whole year next to a construction site AND barking dogs and that was the cherry, i worked a total of 0 hours, and have basically become a zombie.
BUT now that i know why im ' the only one' (in my circle) who gets this irked, i feel a huge sigh of validity acceptance and understanding, and can move on from here, that im not 'crazy' afterall ; )
thank you all for sharing your experiences!

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I suffer from this disorder to and just found out that it is an actual disorder tonight! I thought it was just me and I am crazy! I hate the sound of people eating if they smack or chew. My husband has a large mouth and large lips and smacks frequently and I can hear him chewing. I cannot stand being around him when he is eating unless we are in a restaurant or somewhere where the noise is covered up. Animals licking themselves drives me insane! Mucous noises such as snuffing or phlemy throats. I sleep with earplugs and have a noise maker running at the same time. Music with a deep bass annoys me too. The list goes on and on really! Glad I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

me too me too! It's amazing how exciting it is just to know you aren't alone! I've been this way since about 1st grade and then it got worse in middle school/high school. In second grade we had to write an essay about how we would change the classroom if we could. I wrote about an elaborate setup where we were each in our own little soundproof booths and all our papers were put through little tubes to us. It was my dream! I have such a hard time working in public...but I made it through school (all the way through phd) and now pretty much just have to deal with noise every day. It makes most every day start with a little dread. I have to force myself to leave my house because I know I won't have control over my noise environment. Oh well...you know what I'm talking about. Mainly I just wanted to shout "yay!". I just turned 40 and just today finding this I don't feel as alone. Thirty years is a long time to have noise rage and try to hide it because nobody understands. I'm so glad there are some folks that understand. My daughter shows some signs unfortunately. :(

Anonymous said...

I get SO ANGRY when I hear a lot of noises like these, such as people chewing food or gum or just the sound of plastic. I used to just glare at people making the noises, even if they see me glare at them (and probably have no idea why I'm glaring at them...). I want to scream. I especially hate it when I'm in a quiet place. I absolutely cannot get any work done in a library or somewhere where all the noise you hear are the little outrageously annoying ones. One way I've learned to cope is chewing gum. I always have gum with me. I don't really chew gum because I want gum, I chew it to (somewhat) block out the noise of others. I am not bothered by my own chewing and when I'm eating with others, it's okay (when other people start to eat but I'm not hungry, I'll eat something anyway because it helps out phenomenally). So chewing gum myself works out the same way when I don't have food/can't eat food where I am. Hope this is helpful to anyone :)

Sally said...

Thank you so much. I know I'm being repetitive, but literally until this morning, I thought I was crazy and alone with these feelings.
Up until this moment, it's been something that I've never felt rational talking about. I mean, I still don't know what to do about it, but as hard as it is to have to leave the room when it hits to keep from screaming or breaking something, I can't tell you how much it helps to know that I'm not alone.
Thank you so much.

EliMaeby said...

My misophonia has been breaking my mom's heart since I was little. She thinks I just find her disgusting. I'm sending her a link to this right now.

I, too, am so happy to know that I'm not just a sociopath.

char1337 said...

I know how you feel. I just recently found what this problem I've had half my life is as well.

april said...

I'm a 32 and I've had this issue since I was a tot. I can recall being in kindergarten and having trouble eating my lunch because of the noises other kids made with their mouths. I've always hated to hear adults screaming or the voices of people that have whiny voices. Whistling too, bugs me.

Any sort of slamming, banging, crashing noise brings me grief as well. I categorize them as 'noises that can and should be avoided'... Like the rest of you - my own noises don't bother me (though I find myself carefully avoiding making my trigger noises in the presence of others - in case I'm not the only misophoniac in the room).

Nose blowing KILLS ME. I get VERY ANGRY when people blow their noses around me. I try to leave the area to blow my nose - to save others (in case they happen to be struggling like me). Constant sniffing is much worse. It makes me so angry!! I've been known to put a box of Kleenex on a persons' desk and TELL them to blow their nose and then as I walk away I plug my ears in anticipation of the nose blow.

I know this is completely irrational.

Thank goodness I'm an otherwise amiable person - I don't think any one would be able to tolerate me.

I too have excellent hearing... I've tried many of the 'white noise' techniques others have used - some work better than others. I had a white noise machine for a while, but stopped using it when I changed jobs and moved to an open-air office. White noise machines only seem to work in a cubicle environment.

I like the fan concept, though I can't use fans for noise cancellation for very long unless I am also using earbuds (I can usually hear over earbuds – it’s the shape of my ear canal). The electric sound of most fans (not the woosh sound of the air, but the internal electric buzz of the mechanical parts) makes me want to slit my wrists when I've listened to them too long.

I've also noticed that my trigger noises build up like bricks. The first few times I hear something may only make me cringe, but anything after that and I want to SCREAM at people or run out of the room. There are only a couple of distinct noises that make me want to jump on the person making them at first listen. Sniffing is one, and hearing someone suck food from their teeth is another.

I have a sister (nine years my senior) who has the same issue. We mutually discovered each others' misophonia at a family gathering about 10 years ago. She only noticed that she had issues with certain sounds once she reached college... While I can recall distinct early childhood memories of being in school, with my cousins, friends, or parents and wanting to cry from all of the noises they would make.

Certain noises that make others cringe - never bother me. Like baby cries. My first child had colic for some time and others would describe his screams as “blood curdling”, while I was nearly unaffected by them (except my sympathy for his discomfort). The chalkboard+nails sound has never bugged me. My sister has issues with Styrofoam rubbing together and the sound of paper (ie. packing paper) being pulled or ripped from the ream (consequently, she won't wrap gifts).Those sounds don't bother me in the least.

I do try to desensitize myself. It's a slow process - but I'm noticing my tolerance to certain noises has gotten somewhat better (though better is certainly relative, in this case).

Hayley Bunch said...

I'm starting to think misophonia may not be as rare as I thought! What about crunching ice? Hate it. I always say, "are you still thirsty?? Let me get you something." Or, "eating excessive amounts of ice is a sign of an iron deficiency. Maybe you should do something about that."....Not that it was MY problem.

The popcorn eaters always choose to sit next to me or right behind me. All my friends know we'll need to grab a napkin before we go into the theater so I'll be able to stuff my ears with my homemade earplugs.

My life is ruled by this. New potential friends, boyfriends have been immediately disqualified from my life for enjoying gum, smacking food, having a popping jaw. I broke up with one guy because his mother's jaw popped and had this nose whistling thing. I make sure my jobs will allow me enough freedom to not be stuck next to some gum popper. School sucked.

This entire time I thought I was tyrannical, wanted to control people, or was just a brat. What is so interesting is the level of rage that is brought forward so quickly. What brain center is being stimulated?? Maybe we should be studied under live MRI to see what's activated.

I wonder how things can be different without this misophonia. No more escape plans for everything? More friends, better social skills?

Anonymous said...

I first remember being bothered by chewing sounds and the sight of my mother eating or chewing gum, the way she moved her jaw when eating, as well as the sound of my stepfather slurping drinks and soup, when I was around 13 or 14 years old. I'm 31 now, and in the last few years, the triggers have increased- chewing remains the worst, potato chips especially, but I'm also repulsed by sniffing, repetitive throat clearing, loud typing, and recently, even the sound of the shower combined with the exhaust fan when my roommate takes showers. I keep hoping that the sensitivity will taper off---it worries me that it's intensified in recent years. It feels good to know that others understand how strong and intractable these reactions are. I've thought about recording the sound of myself eating and making myself listen to it, to see if the sound of it would bother me when I'm not eating/ when the sound is coming from outside of my head.

tjs said...

I just found out today that this is a real condition and that I'm not the only one. Still not sure how to cope with it though, usually just put in earbuds and go somewhere else where it's quiet. I feel so bad sometimes because I get so angry when I hear the sound of my parents clanking their silverware on their plates when they are eating. The sound of my mother's spoon on her bowl of cereal drives me nuts. My father's slow crunching an chewing is agony. Even the sounds of others breathing annoys me, as does flossing teeth, clipping fingernails, sweeping the floor, doing the dishes. THe sound of running water drives me nuts, and others can't understand why it is so loud to my ears. WHen my mother turns on the faucet to brush her teeth or if someone runs water in the kitchen sink I feel like there's a huge waterfall over my head. The sound of rustling a garbage bag and putting the garbage out drives me nuts, as does the sound of shopping bags when my mother brings groceries home. I've noticed my mother talking to herself under her breath once in a while which is really hard to deal with because she thinks no one can hear her. I can't go a day without earplugs. I interchange the earplugs with earbuds to listen to music or something that doesn't offend me. I wish there was some way to deal with it. I'm not sure if the doctors have any way to treat it, or if they will think I'm nuts. I really think it is a neurological issue because I've never had any behavioural problems or psychiatric problems. I've heard it's related to tinnitus as well. I've always been this way to some degree, but after a period of intense stress and overwork a few years ago, the misophonia intensified. I'm not sure how stress affects this disorder but it seemed to intensify it in my case. And it isn't reversible. That is, it hasn''t become better since my stress level decreased.

Anonymous said...

Just found the "name" for this curse, Misophonia today....actually after seeing the psychiatrist with my 18 year old daughter who suffers from the same thing. Im 41 and can't stand it any longer. I really hope and pray for some type of help, cure etc. I'm really glad though to know we are not alone, although you all the know the extra pain of trying to explain it to your family and friends. My older brother is Autistic with no hearing or verbal communication so he literally cannot hear himself and slurps like you can't even imagine....his autism contributes to the slurping every single drip of coffee from his upside down cup....for minutes on end. I love him, I'd die for him in a heartbeat, I UNDERSTAND he cannot hear or help it and it still sends me into a rage inside. We all live together now along with my mom and her very loud annoying small parrot. I am exposed way more now than ever. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. Whew! Thanks for letting me vent...and knowing you get it helps alot. :)

annonymus said...

I had never heard of misophonia until today and I have to say that I am so relieved that this is an actual condition that other people have too - I thought it was just me being a control freak!
I remember when it all started - I was 12 years old and suddenly noticed that the ticking clock in my room bothered me. From there hearing people eat, heavy breathing, sniffling, biting nails etc drives me crazy to the point that I either have to leave the room or try my absolute best not to shout at them.
It has controlled my life in many ways and now, being 26 years old I can honestly say it's gotten worse over the years and I'm desperate for a cure!
I would also love to know why it all started - I can't pinpoint any trauma in my childhood that could have triggered it and thankfully my family have been as understanding as they can possibly be, although it is frustrating for them to walk into a room to have me leave if I know they're about to start eating...I would do anything to stop this horrible condition.

julie said...

I can't believe that there are soooo many of "us" out there. I read and read everyone's comments and have yet to hear ANYTHING that will help us. I fear and I mean really fear that there is nothing out there to help this curse. Please, if anyone has found some relief, please let me know. I will try anything!

Anonymous said...

It all started when I was 12 and my Dad brought home fried chicken. Suddenly, I could hear him slurping on greasy chicken, smacking his lips and fingers, and it was so disgusting. Ever since that fateful meal I cannot stand the sound of another person eating. It triggers a "fight or flight" sensation within me. The noise is unbearable. I can't go to a Mexican restaurant without becoming very annoyed by all the others eating chips loudly. The most infuriating sound is someone chewing gum. Not only is the sound disgusting, but it's a completely unnecessary activity. Fortunately, my wife suffers with the same condition so we are very understanding with each other. When we eat we turn the TV up loud enough to drown each others sounds out. This, I'm convinced, has contributed to 13 years of marital bliss. I wish I could tune out the devilish sounds of chewing. I wish it didn't get on my last nerve. When I would mention how much it bothered me to my parents they simply believed it was something I needed to deal with and became offended. I wish there was a way to free myself from hearing the infernal sounds of people eating. Unfortunately, it appears to be something I will have to deal with forever.

mindhorizon said...

I am a hypnotherapist. I am reading this blog because someone troubled with misophonia has asked for my help. I found a Yahoo group specializing in this syndrome where I have been asking questions of those who suffer from it. I plan to report progress of my case there since it is evident that any help that can be found will be most welcome. The Yahoo group is at: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Soundsensitivity/?yguid=359289789

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice to read about all of these other people almost exactly like myself. I am 52 and my earliest recollection of noise disturbance was at the dinner table. It was my fathers eating sounds that strted all of a sudden to disturb and anger me. The sound of his teeth/ jaw chomping down. Like I was enveloped insidethis sound. And slurping. And I would get so angry I could not help myself but start to mimic the sound,
or as I am learning about this, echolalia. And then my mother would get angry at me for mimicking. And everyone would think I was a spoiled brat. I don't like the sound of people eating ice either. I hate people on cell phones as well but do not know if that is related. I am very sensitive to neighbor noise as well and find it frightening. Been in therapy for so many years with really not much help. Even on medications for depression related to noise intolerance. Nice to know there is actually a name for it.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add to my previous post. I am the anonymous 52 year old. As a child of about 3 to 7 years old I suffered chronic ear infections. I am wondering if this might have something to do with misophonia, as well as hyperacusis and also tinnitus of which I have as well.

dkelley12901 said...

Everyone in my family has thought that I was crazy for years. I hate, I mean REALLY HATE the sound of someone crinkling a bag, potato chip, plastic,whatever, it makes me want to stop the noise immediately. I have been known to grab a bag of potato chips out of my son's hand and dump some on a paper plate and tell him to eat them from there, just so I didn't have to hear him repeatedly reaching in the bag for every chip. The sound of my husband opening up a bag of vegetables or putting items in a freezer bag drives me equally nuts. It is really refreshing to know that there are many other people out there that are suffering right along with me.

Pam said...

What a relief! I just learned about this condition this morning on the Today Show. When they first mentioned the topic early in the show I grabbed pen and paper hoping to be able to right down the information I needed to fix myself. I was disappointed to learn that there really wasn't a cure, but at the same time I was so relieved, like everyone else, to learn that it had a name and it wasn't just me being a b****.

Like some others have stated, it has gotten beyond just the noise sometimes. In other words, seeing a person chewing now brings it on (I suppose from the anticipation of the sound?). Although I can recall specific times as a child where it 'set me off,' I don't know when it actually began. The worst offender for me is my husband of 30 years. It is horrible to sit down to a meal with him!

Well, all I can say is I hope that this new knowledge can bring me just a bit of relief!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is an actual thing! I'll be 28 tomorrow and this is the best cosmic birthday present ever. I saw a piece on the news this morning and was so excited I needed to read more. I used to think that it was normal to be bothered by these sounds, that everyone else was just gross. My mom and aunt are also sensitive to eating noises. They will hit you if you are the offender. I discovered that I was a freak in junior high when nobody else was bothered by the eating noises, and I discovered that as long as I am eating, I can calm myself down about the other people's eating noise. My husband is the WORST. It must have something to do with the way his mouth is shaped, the acoustics in there are amazing. No matter how hard he tries it drives me nuts. He finds my rage humorous, and will make smacking noises with his mouth until I flip out. And people who actually eat gross? Forget it. I try not to say anything to most people, but ARGH! I mean, It's not nice to tell someone that their eating habits make you want to slap them in the face, right?

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was just me. My family gave me so much trouble at not understanding and saying that I was just too picky. But the sound of people eating, smacking, swallowing make me want to crawl out of my skin! My dad was one who ate with his head over his plate and shoveled til he was done, I would gag at the table. He also snored loudly and made disgusting noises that would make me cry as a child. My mom loves to chew gum and cracks the whole time, does not even realize she is doing it and I want to scream, run, whatever to get away from this sound, it makes my insides rage. I'm just glad to now know, 50 years later, that it's not just me. My mom thinks I don't like her and thats why I pick on her about the gum, it really causes alot of stress. I just try to stay clear of situations and that helps. Thanks for your insights and sharing.

Anonymous said...

I just watched a segment on Today show about this and literally cried. I never knew this was actually a disorder with a name. I thought I was just a little crazy that I couldn't tune noises out like other people can. It started when I was about 8 or 10. I have trouble with repetitive noises and feel like I'm going to explode if I can't get away from them. Things like chewing, coughing, sniffling, will literally make me so agitated I want to scream. What a relief to hear there are others like myself and name for this.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were so many people like me out there or that there was a name for this. It makes me cry this morning to find out it is an actual disorder.
It started like so many others, at the dinner table as a child. I used to crinkle my paper napkin in my ear to keep from hearing my family eat. Since then I've noticed any repetitive noise becomes intolerable.
If I can't get away or mask the noise I feel like I'll explode. I've been so critical of myself for not being able to tune things out and wondered what is wrong with me. I've actually ended relationships because I couldn't stand certain noises people make. Sniffling is one of the most irritating. I use my Ipod to block out noises but then feel very isolated. I am so happy to find out there are others out there like myself. My husband tells me to block it out which enrages me. Don't you think I would if I could. It's torture at times to not be able to block out noises. It has always been difficult to work around others, travel, go to movies and be around people. I get so anxious if I am trapped with a person making noises that drive me crazy. Thank god there is a name for this, now a solution or cure please.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the Today show and am so relieved to know i am not alone. I am 44 and can not remember a time when chewing hasn't driven me crazy. My brother would always scrape his teeth on his fork and just the thought of hearing it makes my skin crawl....but worse...physically painful. All the noises you are talking about that have made me feel like i am just being overly irritable. I am consantly telling my poor kids to chew with their mouths closed, stop scraping, and to put the chips in a bowl. More than dealing with the noise, the difficult part to deal with is that underlying anger/feeling agitated. I remember a test in college where the person next to me was shaking their foot the entire time... It was awful. Even though there is not a cure, just knowing i am not the only crazy person out there is comforting.

Theresa said...

I am a 58 year old woman and can't remember a time I wasn't disgusted by the sounds of my family. I feel a tremendous relief and an odd acceptance of this. I just called my 40 year old daughter to tell her because when she was little I wouldn't let her have ice in her drinks and she had to eat chips in the other room. When my husband brushes his teeth it is revolting, not sure where this will go, but relieved to find out I am not the meanest woman in the world.

Anonymous said...

Where is everybody like me when I go to a class,church,show,store, meeting etc? I always attract the gum chewers, like I have a sign on me that says, "Chew behind Me!"
I can relate to so many of you making comments. It feels so great to know I am not crazy too. When I heard the story on the Today Show this morning I was relieved too. I control my anger but avoid many situations so I don't have to hear chewing and crunching ice. It's very sad but maybe we could just support one another and at least know we are not alone. Would love more than earplugs to solve my problem. Thanks:)

Anonymous said...

I just found out about this too! Thanks to the NY times? article and the today show piece. THANK GOD that I know I am not crazy too. It's not a "pet peeve", it's an actual disorder! I feel relieved. This DOES run in families. My Grandma had it, and my Mom and I all have it.

Anonymous said...

I too saw the segment on the Today Show. I don't suffer from this but I was pretty sure my 17yr old son does. He can't stay in a room with me when I am eating. My jaw will pop sometimes and he gets very annoyed with me. I would tell him I can't help it. I didn't understand why if it happened a second time he would get angry at me and leave the room. Others in the room would look at me or him like "what the heck?" My daughter says she can't even hear the popping noise. It was beginning to make me self conscious about chewing in front of people. Until my daughter said its not that bad. I also seem to remember a year or so ago my son complaining about not wanting to sleep in the same room as his brother because of something he did that was so loud. I asked my son last night on a scale of 1 to 10 how angry it makes him when my jaw pops and he immediatly said "11!" He also doesn't like me asking about homework or grades and gets angry. I assume that is just because he doesn't want to discuss it but now I wonder if because of my jaw popping, I or my voice is an irritant to him in general. I will show him the sites I have found and hope that he feels a bit better knowing its an actual condition. I am wanting to ask him if there are other sounds that bother him. But I am also afraid that if I mention to him that other noises bother people that it may make him notice and be bothered by other noises too. Have any of you who suffer with this found that to be the case? I hope a cure can be found and will be praying for all sufferers of this and looking for ways to help my son. He also must have very good hearing because he will hear you whisper a couple of rooms away.

Anonymous said...

Just the other day I came home from school with my mom saying she wanted to show me something, and it was this website. I'm 14 years old and it's an unbeleivable relief to find out I'm not the only one with this problem. Over the past few years my inner rage has gotten worse toward noises (mainly chewing and a lot of times snoring) and sometimes it seems like it has torn me from my family. The meals aren't the same, it's either an ipod at the table or eat on the other side of the house. And I don't know about you but I dred it when my family spots a drive thru or decides to open a bag of chips. My friends would tease me along with my family, but now I'm glad to say it's not just me and it's not in my head. Everyone who has posted a comment has helped my family understand how I feel and more importantly make me realize I'm not alone and I thank you all for that.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to every comment on here! I laughed reading every one because they all strike so close to home. The worst for me is my eight year old son's machine gun noise. When he does it at dinner, oh God help me..........

Krissie C said...

Omg! I can't believe that this is an actual condition! I really thought I was just a super crazy b/&@h! While I hate chewing sounds, they only bother me if it's the only sound in the room. I can eat with my family and usually only loud gulping aggravates me. But...flossing, hiccups, almost any repetitive sound makes me crazy. Sometimes it gradually irritates me and others it makes me absolutely snap! My poor husband flosses his teeth and we get into fights because I can't manage my aggravation! Also sneezes bother me, it all just rubs my nerves raw! I hate when people pop gum too! Who knew it was a wiring issue, I also have photic sneeze reflex which is another type of wiring issue. It seems my case may be more on the mild side, I really feel for all of you that it controls your activities or limits you. This condition truly is a nightmare. Shame on the people who try to aggravate you on purpose! Hang in there and hopefully this will get some more press and recognition and more people will understand. Maybe even get some meds or specific therapy (I like the hypnotherapy idea) glad to hear I'm not crazy:D

Bonnie said...

I saw the report on The Today Show and I could have cried from the relief of knowing that I am not some freak. I don't remember having problems as a child. It seems this started when I was an adult. At first I was annoyed by the sound of chewing. As I get older the list of things that bother me keep growing. When my husband eats something in the family room the sound of the silverware clinking on the dish or plate plus his chewing makes me leave the room at times. I hate it when he cooks because the sound of him getting out pots and pans is so bothersome. I was beginning to think that I had issues with him and that's why I sometimes feel that it is so unpleasant to be in the same room. My father makes this noise with his lips that makes me want to scream. My best friend attends the same church as me. She has sinus problems and constantly clears her throat. Can't run out of church so I sit there and suffer through it. I work in a small office which is an old house. I can hear my coworkers eating pretzels from another room. My boss snaps gum & I always feel that I am being rude if I shut the door that separates us. I mentioned the story that was on The Today Show & my coworker said some that some sounds annoy her but she is able to deal with it making it sound like I could control it if I wanted to and that I am a head case. I am being treated for depression and at one visit mentioned all of this to my doctor and she just shrugged it off. Now I feel vindicated knowing that it is truly something that I can't control. It makes me feel better that I am not alone.

judy said...

Thank Goodness, I'm not alone. People chewing gum with their mouths open and cracking it have driven me crazy since I can remember. I think it runs in my family because my grandfather was bothered my certain chewing sounds. I sometimes get so aggravated that I would just like to punch someone in the face to get them to stop. I do try to avoid being in that situation, I move all over the airport so I can get away from the offending person but sometimes they fallow me. I just get so angry I could scream. My poor husband thinks I'm nuts plus I drag him all over the airport to get away from these people. Now i know that I am not the only one and there may be some hope.

Amy said...

I have laughed and cried reading my way through the posts here. Every single thing rings true to me. I thought (and so did my husband) that I was a mean nag. I fear I have scarred my son because I would always yell at him to stop banging the spoon on the bowl when he ate cereal. The list of noises is long and they have all been mentioned but I want to thank heavens I found this. I am just learning today of this disorder and am trying to convince my husband that it really is real. He gives me the side eye "yeah right, they are just picky women like you" look. HA HA

Georgia L. said...

Thank you for posting this. I no longer feel alone :')

Tanya from New Zealand said...

Hi all,

I am a 41 years old, and have been having misophonia since teenage years. My first memory of misophonia was watching my father chew food and it sounded so loud and disgusting, I had to get up and leave. I didn't like my dad much when growing up, and have always thought that I projected dislike and rage towards him onto the food chewing (later expanding it to pen clicking, sniffing and slurping- other sounds had nothing to do with him, but the condition worsened).

About a month ago I stumbled on misophonia article on the Net, and was delighted to find out this condition had a name. A bit disappointing there is no cure, since misophonia has been a huge burden to carry in life, and all I want is to get rid of it.

I am a "fixer" by nature, so I decided to try to consciously work on fixing this. First I asked my boyfriend to slurp while I was listening to the beautiful classical music (I read about this on one of the psychiatrist forums). That kind of worked only when music was louder than slurping or the same level of sound. I've tried that few times, but didn't feel like it would work long-term. So I tried something else, which I feel is working for me.

That second thing is something I named "re-focusing". When I hear the trigger sounds, I focus very heavily, to the point of obsession, on some other sound, something that I like. Example: if someone is chewing gum, and there is music playing in the background, I wrap all my senses around that music and, then (this is the important part), I start actively using brain for something. That could be adding big numbers, i.e. 257+238 or making a mental list of things to do, or making up bed-night story for my daughter, or resolving a work problem in my head, or reading something really complicated that requires lots of concentration. It has to be something that takes most of my brain processing power away from the sounds. I also don't let that anger and frustration envelope me. I keep focused on my "brain gymnastics", and on some other sounds that have positive connotations for me. So far, this worked almost every time (and I have to deploy this few times a day minimum!). It was quite hard initially, first few days I had to walk away from the sounds, till I got a hang of the control.

I doesn't work in the times when I am too stressed to focus properly, or already too annoyed with the noise, and just can't stand it have to leave. But, I've noticed that I am less annoyed with the sounds now in general, I like the feeling that I have the power to pull myself away from the trigger and stay in control. I think I made more progress on myself in this month than in the last 30 years.

Has anyone tried anything similar? Anything that is helping?

Thanks,
Tanya

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about this. I'm a guy and have been suffering with this for a long time, though it only gets really bad when I am already stressed or upset. In those times, I obsess over noises my coworkers are making, or that my daughter makes, and I literally imagine doing horrible violent things to them, just to make the noise stop. My daughter gets very upset with me, and hurt, when I ask her to stop chewing with her mouth open, etc. My co-workers think it's funny to purposely make noises that they know irritate me. This has caused me to move my desk as far away as I can from everyone else. When someone has the sniffles, it drives me completely insane. I used to think I was just being ridiculous, but I'm glad to know it's not something I have that much control over.

Anonymous said...

I just forwarded this to every single person I know. I have been annoyed by chewing, clicking, tapping, coughing, slamming, crunching, gum snapping and a plethora of other sounds as well. There are too many to list. I sit in an open environment as well and it's not an easy place to work. Most of the people around me are aware of my issue but I was recently moved to a new area and it's not good. I cannot wear ear buds and the low hum of a fan does not help. I get up and leave my desk a few times more per day now and although I enjoy the walk it's not good to leave my desk since I have to be immediately accessible to my clients. I am not really sure what to do about this condition but I am SO happy to hear that I am not all alone. For 40 years I've always thought (and have been told) that I was completely out of my mind.

Thank you for all who contributed. It makes me feel a little more comforted and hopefully there will be someone who can come up with a 'cure' or better way to treat this condition!!

- VLS

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Wow. I too did a search and came to your blog. I wanted to cry. For years my family would tell me 'to get over it' and of course it made me think I was crazy. I heard there are audiolgist that can help you cope, have you heard this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are absolutely right and it bothers me to no end. To get out of this situation I try distancing myself from family. My mom tells me to get over it and that she thinks I am a nut case. I found out about this situation only around a month or so ago. Before then I truly did think I was crazy.

Angela King said...

this explains a lot of our friendship. pass the doritos please! :)

withbrightlights said...

Wow! So relieving to know I am not the only one! I developed this around age 8, after my schizophrenic grandma came to live with us during a period of illness. She had ill-fitting dentures that slid around as she ate & would always have pieces of food all over her lips. Argh! Just thinking about it gives me the shivers & that was 20 years ago!

After one meal with her I had to eat my meals in my bedroom. Even now, I can only eat around others when there's music playing in the background, or at a noisy restaurant, or with the tv on, etc.

Blowing noses bothers me so much too. My dad always blows his at the dinner table -- every night. Sick! It's still hard for me to have dinner with them; I have to sit as far away as I can.

My partner slurps his soup sometimes, or milk (with cookies especially). For a while I thought he was doing it exclusively to piss me off -- I'd send him glares but he'd never notice. Now we eat with the tv on, but the slurping still sounds SO LOUD.

Felt so guilty about these repulsions of mine & the associated anger. Almost red-hot, blinding rage! Sometimes I just want to run out of the room! Everyone tells me "I can't help it/it's not my fault" & I agree. But I can't help it either! Feel almost giddy to have a name for it, now.

Anonymous said...

I am 51 and just found out about misophonia from my teenaged daughter. She believes she has the disorder due to she cannot stand chewing sounds. Perhaps thre is a genetic link, I never until now realized that others experience the same issues I have had. My symptoms began at around the time I entered puberty and centered around the constant sniffing and coughing sounds my father made. I had a compulsion to relieve my irritation by mimicking the sounds he made. Although I was punished harshly for doing this I could not stop myself. I still occasionally have reactions to the sounds of my co-workers who walk about wearing flip flops, or scrape the bottom of the bowl with their utensil when eating, and click their pens constantly. I hate spending time with my aunt whom I love but she has a habit of sucking her teeth and also eats loudly with her mouth open. I find that my tolerance has increased as I have gotten older, but it is during times of stress that I have the hardest time coping with the sounds, and also I am more intolerant of sounds from people I dislike or who are causing me stress. It is just good to know I'm not the only one with this weirdness.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jen'
I believe I have a mild form of this condition.I am drivin insane inside since my teens when I hear my,dad,mom,sister or brother chew,drink and swallow.I envision breaking their plates over thier heads or hitting them and feel aggravated and angry inside at it.I know it's irrational and so i do all I can to subdue the anger.I don't get like some and scream and throw things.But I do snap at them sometimes and my brother knows how much it bothers me.I think he's developed an awareness to it when he's around me cuz I can't stand to see him eat either and I feel bad.And my sister constantly speaks while she's eating.it seems so pigish to me but I feel aweful feeling that way and know its wrong to get so annoyed by it and have never told her to damn swallow her damn food before she speaks,I just grit it out and bare it.My mom slurping drives me nuts and my dads jaw pops.AH! It doesn't happen with everyone,that's why I say it's mild,only family and friends I am close with..I tolerate it.But it never ceases to make me grit my teeth and feel anger towards them during it.I have a peculiar thing about it tho..I wonder f anyone else does too.Tho I don't mind hearing myself chew,eat,swallow at all when I'm alone.I Am starting to become Paranoid of OTHer people hearing me do those things.Maybe becuz I can't stand it in them.It's caused a whole other thing to come on.In the past couple yrs.its progressed so that my anxiety towards ALL of this has made me develop some sort of counter effect.I develop more spit then usual when I'm hyper excited or anxious.This makes it even worse for the paranoi! NOt to mention I still cannot stand when my family or close friends EAT.It's all one big mess.I really cannot help but feel like it has always been linked to my childhood sexual abuse issues.I've always felt that way about it cuz Their sounds literally CREEP me out in a way and I think that's why I feel anger...Here's something peculiar tho..Real sex sounds do not creep me out.LUCKILY. I need to beable to combat this Misophonia and the related wierd paranoi that follows it.Now that I know I'm not alone and that's a huge relief,I think,,unless that makes me think everyones like this in which case,I'll be all screwd up.No,It must be possible to work thru this! If it IS nuerological then our stealthy human brains should beable to over power it,,,right?!
Sorry if this comment was too erratic.This shit drives me nuts and it wasn't till I googled my symptoms did I even see this was an actual condition.
Hope you're doing well,
And Thankyou very much for letting me post,,I don't think I've ever been able to express to people who understand just how Maddening it all makes me feel.
Thankyou,Cheers

Anonymous said...

How exciting it is to know we are not the only family dealing with this disorder! My 13 year old is constantly telling me to chew with my mouth closed and I swear I do! Eating in the car, forget it! Breakfast is the worst time. Now we will work on being much more sensitive to his needs. Thanks to everyone!



Denise Cummings said...

I CANNOT STAND the sound of others eating!! The three worst for me to listen to are someone eating ice cream, a bowl of cereal, and the absolute worst is sucking on an otter pop (suck suck suck crunch crunch cruch slurp) I have to leave the room.

Anonymous said...

This is really great to read. I have suffered from this as well - though chewing doesn't bother me THAT much. I can't stand when my sister crunches something or hits her teeth with her fork. What really drives me nuts is when my mom flosses her teeth. I literally get super itchy and want to claw my ears off. It's caused me to lash out and storm out of the room in a fit of rage. Also, snoring really does it for me too. I once slept in a hotel bathtub because my mom's snoring made me so mad. People who don't suffer from this truly don't understand - they tell you to just stop or deal with it. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

To this day my fingers fly into my ears and I hum to avoid the sounds of chewing slurping swallowing. At 6 years old laying on the grass overwhelmed by the sound of birds. The rustling of plastic bags sounded unreal to me. The sounds of my father eating and to a lesser extent my siblings. For years i could stand the sound of my partner eating but now it has extended to him as well and i will leave the room. Blind white rage. Perhaps something to do with sexual abuse as a child.

Kat NA said...

Totally get it... mine is severe as well. Its been this way since as long as I can remember back to 7 years old... so I've been this way for 19 years. I found out about this when it was in an article about Kelly Ripa. Its aweful. I can't enjoy a meal in a restaurant, I can't actually enjoy a meal in the company of my family without perfect rested happy conditions. I've found that being tired, or in a bad mood, makes these feelings exponentially worse. It's even to the point 19 years in that the sound of my own chewing on a bad day can annoy me and I will stop eating. I cant stand repetitive sharp noises in songs, I hate ticking clocks, chips are my worst enemy most days, and heaven forbid someone has a breathing problem it drives me up a wall... I hate the clicking of keyboards and mouses so in an office surrounded by computers and employees eating their lunches throughout the day... my earbuds wear out frequently.

Its nice to see an outpouring of people who understand. I just hope for you all that it doesn't continue to get worse like some of us. It is truly miserable sometimes. Ruins my entire day.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I am almost in tears as I write this - mostly because I know I have this and there is no cure! My case does not involve chewing, but I feel like a complete freak most of the time. I am always angry because inevitably, someone makes a noise that spikes up my anxiety level - literally startles me and I end up with my heart racing and feeling like I am so angry. The worst is that my children are frequently the offenders and I find myself getting angry with my son for repetitively tapping his foot, or his hand, or a pencil on the table. At work, I can't concentrate on what I'm supposed to be writing if a co-worker is standing next to my cubicle chatting with my neighbor. Then there's the mouse-clicks, the finger nail clipper, the sneezer, and for me especially, any loud noise, like the cupboard door slamming, or the toilet lid slamming. I know my response is overkill, but I just can't help it and I hate feeling this way :-( But, the absolute worst sound in the world for me is hearing someone's car outside of my work building blaring their bass. It's physically painful for me to hear. Thanks for sharing your stories and if anyone hears of a cure for this, please share!

Anonymous said...

Wow am not alone!! I thought i was crazy or something! I practically spend almost all day in the library so i would have some quiet..
I wish there is a cure

MusicFiend, MD said...

I found this after thinking I was alone as well. I am 29 and for as long as I can remember I have had some form of this. It started with my family so I find it interesting that theories are out there saying that, but then again it only makes sense because our family is who we are around the most early on.

Mine started out around 7-8. I hated the sound of slurping. I would cry if people slurped things. Everyone just thought I was being a spoiled little brat and told my grandparents that they shouldn't listen to me whine and complain because I was just being a brat. My uncle would make slurping noises to irritate me on purpose. Snoring annoyed me too. I hated it. I would wake my sister up and tell her she had to stay awake until I fell asleep because otherwise the rhythmic snoring kept me awake.
I hate people sucking on hard candy. I hated the smell that heat has when it gets turned on in the car after not being on all summer. I hated the view of someone's cheeks moving when they chewed gum. That was all I had until college...

College I developed my hate of people clicking the mouse on a computer, people shaking their legs- this is my #1 trigger. I loathe it. I want to just go absolutely f&&**g ape when I see someone doing this. I mouth swear words I make very pointed glares at them, I use my bag to block them from my line of sight if possible. I have switched chairs more times than I can count to get away from leg shakers and to get them out of my line of view. Otherwise whatever I am trying to do is ruined because all I can do is stare at the leg or foot moving and wonder why!? WHY!? Who can move that much and why? It's not comofortable! I just go into a murderous rage and it's even against friends. I have never said anything to my friends or really anyone though, it all gets internalized.

This all followed me to med school and now into residency. I have co-residents who smack gum, shake their legs (one of my close friends chews gum almost 24/7 and shakes her legs even while standing- it is a complete nightmare for me as I just want to strangle her but I love her). My upstairs apt neighbor walks around too much so I scream at him all the time when I hear his footsteps. I hear my next door neighbor snoring through the wall and will bang on the wall to wake her so I won't hear it anymore. I punched a hole through one of my other walls when someone was playing bass too much. I can hear my neighbor walking on her treadmill next door, the vibrational low sound drives me crazy.

When I walk in patient rooms and people are smacking gum I just want to get out of the room as fast as possible. I think my face is disgusted. People biting into apples now bothers me. I realized that today and was in a rage as 6 different people ate an apple and everytime one of them pulled out an apple I went insane inside. Whispering also bothers me a lot now.

I have a theory about this stuff from reading others' experiences and from my own. I can hear extremely well...how about the rest of you? I can hear things a lot of other people cannot and therefore I feel like I pick up on noise most people don't even notice. Also I pay attention to detail and again think that's why I become fixated on these noises that others don't even notice. Also, in med school I studied all the time with headphones and music. Music....I love music. I listen to it all the time. I felt like it helped me remember things, and I would do very well on exams where I studied with music. I've always done well in school. I don't know I would be interested in knowing other details about people with this disorder.

Anonymous said...

I never knew this had a name, and I've been dealing with it since I was fairly young. But what I have noticed, and you pointed out about it possibly being equated to bad childhood experiences, it's mostly my mother who's chewing drives me insane. Her and I have a not so great relationship, and honestly we've never gotten along much, and since I was little, hearing her eat/chew makes me want to do violent things to her! No one else really effects me in quite the same way, I might find others mildly annoying at times, but not psychotically violent like hearing my mother chomp, crunch and chew!

Anonymous said...

I googled Misophonia tonight and can say that I too couldn't have put it any clearer. Since I was a young child, I have hated the sounds of crunching, chomping, swallowing, gulping, and on and on and on goes the list. My dad knew about my problem and would accentuate the noise for me to "get me over it." I would leave the table in tears and he'd just laugh at me and tell me how silly I was. My Mother tried to be understanding but tried to get Daddy to not do that. To no avail. I am now 59 years old, more than 50 years later, and it continues for me. I have a very understanding, loving husband who tries his best to not trigger those emotions. He is the first person in my life who doesn't experience it but tries to be supportive. He loves pretzels so he eats them when I am not at home so he can get his crunch on!!! :) I love this man!! LOL I was in a business training class just today where two people were crunching ice, and chomping Wintergreen Life Savers. Fortunately the class came to an early end. I wanted to leave so bad. To me, it's common sense that it is rude to do such, but people don't think or don't care. I wish there was something I could take that would keep me calm or remove these triggers.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have found this post and everyone's comments. Like so many have said, I too find it a relief just to know I'm not the only one that suffers from this!

I found it interesting to see so many say it started in their younger teen years and it started with eating noises of family members because that's when/why it started for me! I'm 45 now and to this day I see my mom giving disgusted looks toward my dad when he eats/drinks. I remember being a young child and thinking that my dad was tough as nails because when eating a chicken leg, he'd put the entire end of it in his mouth to rip off every last bit of meat, grissle and all, and crunch and crunch and crunch. I'm sure my description is driving some of you nuts, as it does me, but this is how it started for me.

Now I have a wonderful job sitting next to some wonderful people, BUT... one chews gum all of the time (I think to cover up his smokers breath) and for some reason doesn't have the ability to keep his freakin lips closed! Another person snacks a LOT, and I feel like she's constantly rustling her wrappers and munching on whatever it is. There are times (like now) that I just stare at my computer, unable to concentrate, as my blood pressure rises.

It also affects me with eating with some of my friends. Most of my friends are what I consider polite eaters, but there are a few huge offenders. Do you really need to suck whatever off of your fingers and make that smacking sound in the process? Can't you close your mouth when you chew?

Sorry for my unorganized thoughts... just trying to get through another day at work and was so relieved to find this post and hope my experiences will help someone else cope.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone chess loudly, not everyone snacks their gum, not everyone bounces their leg, not everyone slurps...
I get it, my sensitivity to sound is a Problem, diagnosable even...but what about the offender's need to crunch loudly, lack of consideration in slurping and smacking, their repetitive need to tap...what is their diagnosis?!

Anonymous said...

My mother has always been extremely annoyed by any noise that I have made and I haven't been able to visit her in 30 years because of it. However, I find that certain noises also bother me. People who have their laptops on their lap and aren't typing, but are simply thinking, and are taping the top of their laptops over and over incessantly with their fingernails drives me crazy. Screaming children or loud speaking with trigger a migraine. I broke up with a boyfriend, and one of the reasons was that he and is son ate like pigs at a trough - open mouths, loud breathing noises as they shoveled food into their mouths as fast as their could. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen! My ex-husband would eat and talk with his mouth full of food all the time until I had to serve him dinner alone. I asked him for YEARS to quit doing that, but he refused to eat with his mouth closed and really loved to upset me; therefore, dinner alone. People snapping their gum can bother me, but other than those noises I'm pretty good with everything else and don't need to wear earplugs. I just avoid the triggers!

Martin Sass said...

My list of sounds I hate...

Cutlery to plate clacker
Chewing/talking with mouth full of food
Scrape sound of knives across toast
Apple crunching
Popcorn crunching
Licking/sucking of finger tips after eating
Clicking of pestacio nut to shell separation
Excessive car door slamming
Noisy car mufflers
Lawn mowers/power tools
Dogs barking
Sniffling
Sneezing
Clearing of throat
Coughing
Hearing people talk on their phone

For me the list seems to slowly get longer and I have to use Noise canceling headphones, earphones with ambient music,leave the room or get up off my chair or do my best to avoid the situation/triggers.

I feel that as a society...manners and consideration for others is a low priority for many....its just people in their own little world and who cares if its 1130pm and the neighbors are asleep.. Let's just SLAM the doors instead of quietly closing them, I really want to eat an apple...so...instead of slicing it...I'll just crunch on it for everyone to hear...yes...I'll call up my mate and talk for 30+ minutes about crap in a train/bus...or I'll just eat with my mouth full of food cause I need to broadcast something so important like "check out this funny YouTube video"....

Its a 'noise phobia' vs 'peoples lack of social respect for others issue'.....