If you feel that sense of rage building up in you every time you hear a person chew, worry not. First of all, you are not alone, and second, you are not unreasonable. You might be suffering from a condition known as Misophonia, and you might be a genius.
Misophonia means "strong dislike of sound." It is a situation where someone hates certain noises like the noises heard from chewing, lip smacking, breathing, among many other sounds. Most of the time, this sound is usually oral. These sounds cause anger and distress that often results in the person physically or verbally lashing out. So do not be surprised if you find yourself shouting at someone to chew quietly. Misophonics are not affected by their own sounds or animal sounds.
So how exactly does this condition make you a genius? Research done at Northwestern University showed that misophonics are usually more creative than their counterparts that aren't. Darya Zabelina, the lead author of this particular study, further elaborates that this hypersensitivity to specific sounds can sometimes lead to increased creativity. The reason behind this is the fact that the brain processes more information that those who do not have the condition. This leads to widening of their attention span.
WebMD states that when one is suffering from mild Misophonia, they may feel disgusted, anxious and the need to leave a certain area if they hear any annoying sounds. This, however, becomes heightened when the person suffers from severe Misophonia. Rage, hatred, and fear are what a person suffering from severe Misophonia feels. It may even go to the extent of affecting a person's social life. A person may stay away from restaurants since this is the one place everyone eats. If you happen to know a loud chewer, then you will definitely do whatever it takes to avoid them. The results in a strained relationship with the person or a lack of a social life altogether.
WebMD further goes to explain that this condition usually starts between ages nine to thirteen. It also seems to affect girls more than boys. Although the condition is often confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar, it is actually different from these conditions. However, even with this being the case, the condition does happen to be associated with those who suffer from any of the two conditions.
So you know exactly what Misophonia is, or maybe you think you have it, what next? How can you cope with it? One of the ways is by tinnitus retraining therapy. This refers to learning how to tolerate those annoying noises. It is learning how to cope with the noises either on a subconscious or conscious level. This is done by exposing you to the sounds you find annoying. Therapy of cognitive behavior is the second therapy that can be used to help you cope with the noises. Another method that has been proven to work is by using ear devices which stream nature and other relaxing sounds.
Let's face it, you cannot avoid restaurants all your life, and what if the loud chewer is someone really close to you? Will you stay away from them forever? Of course not! So using these techniques to tolerate the annoying noises sounds like a good way to deal with the problem.