If you can't stand someone chewing, you may have Misophonia

Sunday 30 October 2016 16:15
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Do you become inordinately angry with the sound of someone chewing nearby?

Misophonia, meaning 'hatred of sound', is a recently-recognised condition which causes those who have it to react with stress, anger, irritation and, in extreme cases, violent rage to trigger sounds.

It's not a mild irritation: sufferers say it's like being punched in the stomach or repeatedly stung by bees.

If you're only tutting, you're probably not a patient.

Meredith Rosol, a 25-year-old teacher who was diagnosed with misophonia two years ago after years of hypersensitivity to sound, told the Independent:

I haven’t eaten with my parents, at least without earplugs, in over a decade.

It’s like a fight-or-flight response: your muscles get tense, you’re on edge, your heart races, and you feel the urge to flee.

In 2013, a group of Dutch psychiatrists laid out the condition’s diagnostic criteria and urged that it be classified as its own psychiatric disorder.

In recent years, further research has investigated the surrounding traits of the condition - a recent study by Northwestern University sound that those sensitive to sounds are typically more creative.

Arjan Schröder, a psychiatrist at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, told Motherboard:

It usually starts around 13 or 14, when most psychiatric disorders start occurring. It occurs in families, so there's probably also a genetic component. And finally, it's a problem in which a connection is made between a neutral sound and an aversive emotion.

It's a conditioning process: if you're in a problematic situation regularly enough, and start avoiding that situation, it gets worse and worse.

The NHS gives advice for Hyperacusis, intolerance to everyday sounds that cause significant distress, and they suggest visiting your GP if you have a severe sound intolerance.

They can examine your ears, nose and throat, and run tests to discern the level of sound which causes a reaction.

Common treatments revolve around therapies, relaxation techniques and counselling.

More from the Independent: Does chewing, tapping and typing send you into a rage? You may be suffering from misophonia

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