Mind and Body

Do Slurping, Chewing Sounds Send You Into a Rage?

Digital Image by Sean LockeDigital Planet Designwww.digitalplanetdesign.com

Digital Image by Sean LockeDigital Planet Designwww.digitalplanetdesign.com  (iStock)

Do you know someone with misophonia?

It’s a condition where certain sounds – like chewing, humming and footsteps – can be tortuous to a person and literally drive them into a rage, The New York Times reports.

The newly-coined condition has not been studied very much and is often misunderstood, experts say, but it does follow a pattern.

It usually begins in adolescence with trigger sounds getting worse over time. Sounds usually include eating and breathing.

“I don’t think 8- or 9-year-olds choose to wake up one morning and say, ‘Today my dad’s chewing is going to drive me insane,’ ” said Portland, Ore.-based audiologist Marsha Johnson, who runs an online forum for people with misophonia. “Soon the kid doesn’t even want to come to the table or go to school.”

Johnson’s online group has 1,700 members worldwide.

For Taylor Benson, 19, a college student in Omaha, Neb., the sounds of sniffling and gum chewing (among others) make her chest feel tight and her heart start pounding. Benson said if she hears the sounds, she searches for the person, often glaring at them.

“This condition has caused me to lose friends and has caused numerous fights,” Benson said.

There is no treatment for this condition, but Johnson said many sufferers are also diagnosed with phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Click here to read more about misophonia at the New York Times.