Misophonia – Does Chewing Noises Make You Mad?

  • Ayushi Jain

Then you might be suffering from Misophonia an obscure psychiatric disorder which makes you mad and genius at the same time.

What is misophonia?

Do you ever feel an urge to flee or rage whenever you hear somebody scratching nails on a chalkboard or slurping the soup? This is the case with misophonia- a disorder in which oral sounds such as yawning, eating, breathing, whistling or even small repetitive motions such as fidgeting or wiggling of foot acts a trigger and makes the person feel disgusted, anxious. In severe cases of the disorder, one might feel rage, hatred, panic attacks, emotional distress, a desire to kill somebody or suicidal thoughts. The disorder usually appears around the age of 12 and affects more people than one might imagine.

Whilst suffering from this disorder, workplace or any social space might cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. It can cause the person to become unfocused and ultimately have an extremely negative impact on the output.

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  • How Do You Get It?

Doctors aren’t sure what is the actual cause of misophonia, but it’s definitely not a problem with your ears. Though, a British based research team found that anterior insular cortex (a part of the brain that plays the role both in anger and integrating outside inputs) caused much more activity in other parts of the brain during the trigger sounds for those suffering from misophonia than for those who don’t. specifically, the parts responsible for long-term memories, fear and other emotions were activated.

The researchers also found that people with misophonia have higher amounts of myelination. Myelin is a fatty substance that wraps around nerve cells in the brain to provide electrical insulation, like the insulation on a wire. Though it is not sure if myelin is a cause or just an effect of misophonia.

Another important finding by the team was that the trigger sound could evoke a heightened psychological response, with increased heart rate and sweating.

  • You’re a creative genius!

Generally, people suffering from this disorder are easily misunderstood as being uptight or being too difficult. The victims prefer to suffer in silence rather than being mocked upon. It’s not easy but here’s the good news, if you are suffering from this it could mean you’re a creative genius.

History shows that geniuses such as Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov all wore earplugs whilst they worked. And now a research conducted by the northwestern university has shown that inability to filter out competing for sensory information is a common trait found in those who are considered to be talented.

  • How do you treat it?

This disorder surely affects daily life, but one can learn to manage it. A slight change in lifestyle could make it easy for sufferers. One can try reducing exposure to high volume areas like busy streets or concerts or can even have a regular bedtime schedule and avoid naps, caffeine and TV before bedtime.

Treatment for misophonia also involves different types of therapies. Music therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are found to be the most effective one.


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