So that’s why I can’t stand chewing gum or popcorn at the cinema…or anywhere else…

After getting annoyed at my son for complaining about his sister’s ‘noisy’ chewing, It occured to me that I’ve never been a big fan of exposure to eating noises either (as much as I’d like to maintain a constant mood of ‘joy, lightness and space’).  I mentioned this to my sister whose response was ‘misophonia’. Misophoni…what?

Misophonia (otherwise known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome) is “a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable give the circumstance”. (WebMD)

According to the Misophonia Association,  some of the most common triggers are:

  • Gum Chewing
  • Eating Sounds
  • Lip Smacking
  • Speaking Sounds (s, p, k)
  • Breathing Sounds
  • Repetitive softer sounds like pen clicking, pencil tapping
  • Nasal noises, throat clearing
  • Sucking through the teeth sounds
  • Sniffing
  • Sight of gum chewing or eating with the mouth open
  • Pet licking or nails clicking
  • High heels on hard floorshttp___www.sensor-magazine.nl_foto_2468_615_files_nieuws_chewing-gum-1024_226418k

Oh my! Most of those have the power to drive me to distraction whenever I hear (or even see) them happening. What a revelation!  I can finally blame my ‘intolerance’ (and very possibly that of my son) on a medical condition.  😉

A medical condition for which there is no known cure 😦

Coincidentally, last week someone mentioned the recent craze in which videos aim to trigger the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) – which is a nice tingling feeling on your scalp and brain that slowly  moves down your neck and spine – in susceptible people.  Stimuli that can trigger ASMR, as reported by those who experience it, include :

  • Listening to a softly spoken or whispering voice
  • Listening to quiet, repetitive sounds resulting from someone engaging in a mundane task such as turning the pages of a book
  • Watching somebody attentively execute a mundane task such as preparing food
  • Receiving personal attention
  • Listening to tapping, typically nails onto surfaces such as plastic, wood, metal, etc.
  • Loudly chewing, crunching, slurping or biting foods, drinks, or gum

Wait a minute! Listening to someone chew can actually evoke a pleasant response in some people? Surely not! I had to investigate this further. After a quick search I came across all sorts of videos including this one (which contains over 20minutes of  someone whispering and chewing gum). This is totally incomprehensible. To me, this kind of ‘entertainment’ is the very  material of my nightmares.

Interestingly, Psychologists believe that an inability to shut out irrelevant sensory information (ie: Misophonia) could be strongly linked to creativity and above-average intelligence.  What does that say about ASMR fans? (………just kidding ASMR fans.)

Do you have misophonia? Take the test!

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