This Thing I Have

So, there’s this thing. I used to think it was just an unpleasant part of my personality, but it’s a real thing! As in, I can’t control it and there are others out there!

It’s called Misophonia, literally, “hatred of sound”. The most common trigger for misophones* (misophoniacs?) is the sound of other people eating. This isn’t just an annoyance to misophones – it can actually send us into a rage. Usually just an inner rage, but a rage, nonetheless.

I learned about this recently at my knitting group. I said something about how I always play music when I have people over to dinner, because I can’t stand the sounds of people eating. My friend Steven piped up then, and mentioned a New York Times article he recently read about Misophonia. I pulled the article up on my iPad and lo and behold! I thought it was just me and my sisters with this problem!

Since then, I’ve talked about this discovery with others, and I’ve found that I have two close friends with Misophonia. It’s funny, because this is a disorder, but we are always delighted to share how much we hate certain sounds. I suppose this is because we’ve been keeping it mostly a secret our whole lives, and now we get to “own it” because it’s actually hard-wired in our brains. Like being right or left handed, and not just being a weirdo.

Turns out that my Misophonia is pretty run-of-the-mill. My triggers are the sounds of people eating (smacking, crunching – geez, I can barely type out the words for it), the sound of liquid glugging out of a bottle, the crinkling of plastic food bags, any sound that is made by styrofoam, the sounds of the letters “S” and “P” together (like the word “s-o-u-p-s”, ugh, don’t say it), and the sound of dogs cleaning themselves.

Apples are the worst.

I also have a problem with any song by Creedence Clearwater. It might just be that I really dislike the band, but now that I think about it, it’s probably a Misophonia trigger because of the rage I feel. I find myself running to the source of the music and quickly turning it off whenever I hear the first couple of bars of one of their songs.

I’m writing this post in the hopes that another misophone will read this and get the same jolt of excitement I got in learning that this is a real thing. There is no treatment for it or anything, but maybe just knowing that this is a named condition will let us share stories and even laugh about it.

So, what sounds send you into a rage?

*I realize that I probably made up this word.

64 comments on “This Thing I Have

  1. Don’t you think we all have some sounds that drive all of us crazy? However, smacking gum, chewing crunchy yummy food loudly and crinkling plastic bottles drive me crazy. They are like finger nails on a chalk board. Oh yeah, popping chewing gum: who thinks this is cool and ok with the next guy to listen to? Also, when the car next to you has the radio turned up so loud I can’t hear my brain think. Very rude! I have been accused of having very sensitive hearing…..and smell! :/

  2. Several times a day my colleague, whose desk is next to mine, will open up a food wrapper of some sort, and fiddle around with it for (what seems like) hours until the food morsal is revived. Repeat x 5 until the tiny packet of nuts, peanuts or whatever has been find. Followed by an unnecessarily long scrunching of the packet before putting it in the bin. It literally drives me insane!!

  3. I too have this disorder. I hate the noise of people talking while the TV is on. My husband loves westerns and I hate the sound of gunshots. I have to leave the room. Also people who talk constantly drives me up the wall and gives me a headache. Having the TV on constantly at Thanksgiving at relatives houses drives me nuts.

  4. yeap, utensils scraping on dish ware, smacking food or gum, slurping liquids, people whistling, tapping their fingers, wearing multiple or charm bracelets at work when they know they will be using a mouse all day long, elevators dinging, the humming sound fluorescent lights make and the worst is when the Discovery type channels bleep out whatever word they want to bleep…I can hear that sound from anywhere in the house and it sends me through the roof…thanks for the diagnosis along with the best tutorials on earth!

  5. Wow I thought this was just me being neurotic. I cant stand the sound of people eating!! or dogs eating! I always have to have music or background noise or SOMETHING to block it out or I go absolutely bats! My family can’t stand me during dinnertime now, it’s really starting to hurt some of my relationships. It seems worse if I don’t really like the person or am always around them.

  6. I can totally relate, my son has this as well and it makes it very difficult to be a 14 year boy in school. He has good days and bad days – and when the bad days hit with it he can barely sit in a classroom if someone is making a noise that triggers him. It is mainly sounds related to eating food – but sniffling and breathing rank up there as sounds that send him over the edge. I as well wish more people understood this. It is a real thing.

  7. I’m now realizing that alot of people have this disorder in varying degrees. I have several noises/sounds that bother me, but the one that makes me crazy is when I am in the car with my husband. If we eat anything while we are out and about, as soon as we get in the car he starts running his tongue around his mouth and tsk, tsking…it goes on as long as we are in the car. He says he is cleaning food from his teeth. He has beautiful, perfect teeth, I can’t imagine anything is stuck in his teeth. Needless to say, I make sure the radio is on, but I can hear what he is doing over the music. – another thing that makes me crazy is when he eats anything from a bowl he clanks the spoon. — I do have sensitive hearing, but this goes beyond that. There are numerous other noises, but I will stop now since I am sure everyone who is responding understands all the other crazy noises that will make a sane person insane. 🙂

  8. OHHHHHHHH what???? this is a THING?? A REAL THING? I am dazed reading this, excellent that it is a real thing. Yep I agree about food sounds in general, my tolerance seems to be slightly higher with my husband, but usually this puts me right over the edge.
    The real killer for me? Ice. Crunching ice. My little sister used to do it to torture me, literally.
    I have a very similar reaction when both the TV and a radio/music are on.
    This was SO helpful! Thank you!

  9. I’ve only met one other person who suffers with this condition too. My friend and I started sharing stories about growing up and we discovered that we are both super sensitive about the sounds people make while eating.

    For one to add to the “list” I can’t stand it when silverware touches people’s teeth. I also can NOT stand it when people chew on Corn Nuts or ice. I become so irritated that I usually have to leave the scene before I make a scene.

  10. I’m not bothered by normal food sounds so much as the sound of someone chewing gum. If I can hear you chewing your gum, it bothers the heck out of me.

  11. I cringe at the sound of knitting needles clanging together. And I’m a knitter. An avid knitter.

  12. Omg! The inner rage I feel when I can hear people chewing has always seemed so unreasonable to me but I’m actually NOT insane!

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