Do Chewing Sounds Fill You With Rage? You May Have Misophonia!
Last week, Chad asked if I wanted to have lunch in the break room. I told him I'd be happy to join him, but I would have to play some music to avoid the urge to punch him. He was SO confused! I explained that the sound of him crunching on his salt & vinegar chips would send me into an irrational rage! There is a legitimate condition called Misophonia, and I have been self-diagnosed. Can you relate?
I can't remember when I first noticed this issue, but I know it was when I was young enough to still live with my parents. I have read that the effects can be magnified with people you love. This makes sense because my mom's drinking was the first thing I noticed. She has top-notch table manners, so I know it is not anything she was/is doing.
So What in the World is Misphonia?
Merriam-Webster defines it as " a condition in which one or more common sounds (such as the ticking of a clock, the hum of a fluorescent light, or the chewing or breathing of another person) cause an atypical emotional response (such as disgust, distress, panic, or anger) in the affected person hearing the sound."
While there is no real consensus among doctors about this bizarre condition, it does seem to be considered more of a mental issue versus a problem with someone's ears. It comes on very quickly and has also been observed more frequently in women or people with anxiety and other brain-based disorders. However, some professionals feel it is a disorder all its own.
How to Deal With Misophonia
Sometimes this condition requires sound therapy or counseling to determine treatment and coping mechanisms. I can't even stand the sound of my own mouth crunching, so my patient family knows that when we eat, the music goes on! I have never lost control of myself physically, of course. However, last week at a get-together, I burst out with a "Could you not drink like that please!" and scared all of my poor friends! I try so hard to hold it in and deal with it, but it feels like my brain magnifies the sound until I just can't stand it. It's so hard to explain.
Support for Misophonia Sufferers
While there is no known cause or specific treatment, doctors are researching Misophonia to find out more. There is also a Misophonia Association that gathers resources, hosts an annual convention and organizes regional support groups for sufferers. I bet they don't have coffee and donuts at their meetings!
Do you feel my pain or think I have lost my marbles? Chime in on our Facebook poll this morning or give us a call at 1-800-844-WBKR and we can have our own support group on air!