Does this sound familiar? You sat down at a restaurant to enjoy a meal, but the loud chewing noises from the guy next to you started to make you furious. That is just one scenario. Here’s another - maybe it’s the sound of someone chewing on crisps on the train that makes you fly off the handle. The point is, if the sounds of people eating seem to deeply upset you, you are not alone, and there is a compelling reason behind your strong reactions.
Unfortunately, if these scenarios are a perfect description of who you are, then I have some bad news for you – science says this is a sign of a psychiatric disorder by the name of misophonia. Apparently, people with this health problem have an issue with chewing, drinking, eating and loud breathing sounds.
The condition was named back in 2001, following research that proved beyond any doubt that it was a real medical condition that should not be ignored. So, if you or anyone you come across shows signs of having unusually strong reactions to eating sounds, be more considerate of their plight – it's not pretense or attitude.
But if I may say so, I am pretty sure that most people don’t like eating sounds. So, if you have this condition, I can totally understand your plight. I don’t exactly go bananas when I hear someone chewing loudly next to me, but I don’t enjoy it one bit. I have often felt inclined to walk away from slurping sounds people make with their coffees in the morning, although I never felt angry at them or upset in any way.
When the scientists got down to it to find out why some people reacted so much to these petty annoyances, they discovered something interesting. In general, they discovered that brain scans of these people showed that their minds had a heightened level of activity whenever such sounds were made.
These common noises apparently triggered their brains so that they got into something of a panic due to an abnormality in their emotional control centers.
Such individuals simply lose it and their hearts race and they can even start to sweat after they hear these unpleasant sounds.
That means that some people are not being overly dramatic when they say these noises drive them crazy because they really do.
To normal people, these noises can easily be ignored, even though they are without a doubt quite annoying. But for people with this condition, this is a serious form of torture.
What does this tell you? That the next time you are sitting next to someone, enjoying your favorite crunchy delight, and someone tells you to keep it down, you should not be quick to overreact and give them a piece of your mind.
The person might be truly in distress, and it has nothing to do with their attitude, but the way their brains are wired up to get easily enraged by such sounds. In other words, spare a thought for others when eating in public, don’t wolf down your food noisily when you can be more gentle. Your consideration could save someone from a bad day.