Irritating Sounds!

Each person has unique qualities that set them apart from everyone else. These qualities are not something negative or to be ashamed of, but they can create challenges for the person to handle. Since I was a young child there have been certain sounds that I found extremely irritating, which I thought made me strange. It is not loud noises, but small noises such as people chewing gum, chips, popcorn, ice, or anything else that crunches. I remember a time being in the car with my mother or anywhere else when people were chewing gum and it caused an intense feeling of pure and utter irritation. Are there any sounds that you find irritating?

There is a rare disorder known as misophonia that affects about 20% of the population. Scientists suggest that one in five people suffer from this disorder to some degree and less than 1% experience extreme symptoms. This disorder can trigger emotional or physiological reactions to sounds. Of course, those that do not suffer from this view the reactions as an unreasonable and illogical response to sounds that can range from anger and annoyance to panic with a need to flee.

Those that live with misophonia have explained they are triggered by oral sounds, such as the noise a person makes when they eat, breathe, or chew anything. Other sounds people have found to be irritating can include the tapping on a keyboard, table, or steering wheel, or the sound of windshield wipers or blinkers. Some have said small repetitive motions are the cause, such as someone fidgeting or wiggling their foot.

Those with misophonia have said they respond to visual stimuli accompanied by sounds and have an intense reaction to repetitive motions. It has been suggested by researchers that those with this disorder have issues with the way their brains filter sounds and one feature of “misophonia sounds” would be their repetitive noises, which exacerbates other auditory processing issues.

Misophonia appears to range from mild to severe. Many have reported various physiologic and emotional responses. Mild responses can cause people to feel anxious, uncomfortable, disgusted, or have the desire to flee the situation. The more severe response may include rage, anger, hatred, panic, fear, and or emotional distress. 

Doctors are unsure what causes this condition but have stated it is not an issue with the person’s ears. They do believe it may be related to the way sounds affect the brain and trigger an automatic response in the body. The onset is not known, but symptoms have been reported to begin between the age of 9 and 13 and last a lifetime. This is more common in girls and comes on quickly and does not appear to be related to any specific event.

A recent breakthrough study discovered that misophonia is a brain-based disorder. Researchers have referred to a disruption in the connectivity in parts of the brain that processes both sound stimulation and the fight/flight response. This is said to involve parts of the brain that code the importance of sound. 

If this is something any of you deal with, I am sorry because I know how incredibly frustrating it can be. There have been times I had to cover my ears to avoid the annoying sounds because it causes me massive amounts of frustration and anger. It was so hard to deal with when I worked in an office setting because many people loved chewing gum and that is one of the most annoying sounds in the world. Thankfully, I am not working in an office setting, so I do not deal with this anymore, but my husband does love chewing ice and tries to say it is soft ice. It is NOT soft ice! If this is something you must live with, how do you handle it without losing your mind?

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope what I have shared is something you do not live with, but if you do, please know you are not alone. I am looking forward to reading your comments and I will respond as quickly as I can. I hope your weekend has started pleasantly and you enjoy these two days! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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