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Thread: Sensitivity to sound; misophonia

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Sensitivity to sound; misophonia

    Well, I just heard this diagnosis on 20/20 tonight. Some people can't tolerate certain voices (even their parents'), certain sounds (any chewing noises, for example), etc. There is a connection to tinnitus, OCD, and anxiety disorders, all of which I have. I have a huge phobia around people squishing (my term) or cracking chewing gum. You know, chewing the cud, constant crack, crack, crack. I have left stores if someone is cracking their gum an aisle over, non-stop. On a plane? Everyone's cracking gum on a plane. I thought it was just me, or maybe I have issues with rude people. Like a pet peeve. I once spent a week in a training session seating next to a woman I was friendly with, but she cracked gum all damn day and I thought I was going to go insane sitting there. I probably missed half the instruction just trying to stay sane and not run out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misophonia

    Anyone else? Or is it really just me?

  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post


    Anyone else?
    Your snoring. *tap tap on the foot*
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Can’t say I have ever heard of this. Though as I read the description I was reminded that I used to get so annoyed and silently seethe when eating dinner with my parents as a teen. The sound of their chewing was, as the description emphasizes, almost enraging. I have always associated the sensation with being a surly adolescent that wanted to distinguish himself from his parents, but it did seem unnatural – even at the time. They are not around anymore, so I can’t test this theory.

    That aside, and this will sound like a weird one, I have always disliked the sound of liquid pouring into a glass/cup on movies. They usually overdub these things so they are louder than they would otherwise be, and something about it always has really bothered me. Even today.

    My 11 year old son is also very sensitive to loud noises but I think that’s a different thing. He’s on the “spectrum” as far as sensory integration challenges, but not so pronounced that he has received any therapies. Theater movies, fire drills and similar events really bother him. We don’t even go to the theater very often anymore and when we do, it’s the discount theater, not because its cheaper (though that helps) but because the sound system is not as loud.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Do nails on a chalkboard count? If so, I'm very sensitive to that type of noise.

  5. #5
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    I tend to get irritated by the sound of food being eaten loudly, unless I'm also eating which will distract me from hearing or caring. My wife often chews food with her mouth partially open, resulting in a smacking sound that irriates that crap out of me. I usually have to leave the room.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Derek Lloyd View post
    I tend to get irritated by the sound of food being eaten loudly, unless I'm also eating which will distract me from hearing or caring. My wife often chews food with her mouth partially open, resulting in a smacking sound that irriates that crap out of me. I usually have to leave the room.
    Haha… my instant thought when I read the initial post was of the occasionally REALLY LOUD and disturbing (to me) food chewing of a certain someone in my household, but I just thought it was a case of we’ve-been-married-so-long-that-the-little-things-that-I-didn’t-notice-the-first-few-years-together-are-not-so-cute-anymore.

    Very often at I work I am afraid that I am breathing/drinking/eating too loud and bothering my co-workers without being aware of it, but we are soon moving to a bigger space where I’ll have my own office and I can stop worrying about it. Reverse misophonia?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    My daughter in college has trouble in areas of the megacampus she attends where people take lunch breaks. Anyone nearby eating drives her away. She also has "ears of a dog", and can hear many things I don't.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I got equipped with hearing aids last fall and while it is very nice to be able to hear people speaking more clearly, there are times when having them is intensly annoying. The inability to filter background sound at noisy places like cafeterias or sporting events can be disconcerting.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    My son can get very uncomfortable in loud spaces as a result of his Asperger's (which for him also includes other sensory issues). This was his freshman year in HS and the first pep rally was held in the school's old gym -- a bandbox of sound echoing masonry and hard surfaces -- that got so loud he nearly freaked. Fortunately, he went to a faculty member and she let him stay in the hallway during the rally.
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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I've always had trouble hearing conversations in crowd situations even though I've had my hearing tested and it's well within the normal range for most frequencies. It was only recently that I realized/learned that my problem is an inability to filter out extraneous conversations. As a result, even though I may be looking directly at you and watching your mouth move, your speech and all the others around me pretty much carry equal weight. I think that may also be the reason that I find loud chewing, the sound of a spoon being stirred in a coffee cup, vacuum cleaners, etc., very irritating unless I happen to be the one making the noise.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  11. #11
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    a view from the other side

    Hmmm. So I notice that the original poster said, "I thought it was just me, or maybe I have issues with rude people. Like a pet peeve."

    Well, I'll probably get blasted for this, but I'm coming from the other side. My brother was recently diagnosed with misophonia. Which is why I was searching the web for info. I gotta ask - you have issues with "rude people"? OMG. We are close to 40, and for the last 25+ years, my brother has been intolerable. Our parents are both gone now, but I cannot tell you the pain he inflicted on them by his mimicking and snarky comments. The breaking point for me was when he started in on my kids a few years ago.

    I get that this is a neurological thing where he can't control how the sounds make him feel. But I have to believe he can control his reaction to the feelings. I hope that the medical diagnosis allows him to receive effective treatment and improve his behavior. If not, why can't he just walk away? It would be better than the constant criticism. And truly, at this point, if he can't change his behavior considerably, I don't think our relationship will survive much longer.

    By the way - you say everyone is cracking and smacking gum on a plane? No, they're not. I travel extensively for business, and I have rarely if ever even been able to hear anyone chewing gum on the plane. Especially over the engines and the air treatment system, etc. So perhaps you should stop yourself before characterizing THEM as "rude." My experience with this disorder is that it causes the sufferer to be extremely rude, while the rest of us have to walk on eggshalls and try (albeit always unsuccessfully) to not make any noise at all. Ever. Not the slightest sound. God forbid we breathe. Or sneeze. Or cough. Or even swallow our food. I literally have to walk on tiptoe around my brother lest he make an ugly comment. So I guess I'm the rude one? In what universe?!?

    Realize that you have a neurological abnormality that needs to be treated and stop characterizing the problem as other people's rudeness. Realize that the sounds other people make when eating or drinking or whatever are probably perfectly normal and polite - and that you need to carefully monitor your response to them. I promise you that if you keep viewing the rest of the world as "rude," you will soon have no relationships with other people left. Medical issue or not, yes we can be careful of the sounds we make - but that may or may not have any effect. This I have learned to my sorrow. After all the years of verbal abuse I have suffered at my brother's hands while trying to be as quiet as I can, I'm having a hard time caring what the reason is anymore. It's a sad thing to have to admit, but it's true. I hope that he can find effective treatment so that we can repair some of our relationship. But I'm not sure it's even possible anymore.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    gmohr, wow, I can see where your brother upsets you and he would be difficult to be around.

    Just a quick reply: I never say anything to anyone about my "pet peeve". If I'm in a place where I can remove myself, like a small store, I will. Otherwise, I suck it up. I will say, though, that etiquette experts say slurping soup, cracking gum, chewing with your mouth open, are all rude behaviors, which is why I used the "rude" label. These are also situations where employment experts say you can sabotage yourself, e.g. chewing gum during a job interview, slurping soup at a business lunch. Enjoy your gum, soup, whatever, just don't make everyone around you listen to it (well, crunchy foods like chips are exempt, who can help noise with that?). And yes, saying everyone on a plane is chewing gum was an exaggeration, but it appears to me that people are more likely to chew gum on a plane. Maybe you're in business class, but in coach, I see entire families chewing their cuds when they board.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    wow.

    Is it not Japan or somewhere like that where slurping is considered a compliment to the cook? And that one must leave a little something uneaten to show the host that one is sated?

    What is really hard sometimes is not to fart in yoga class with all that bending and stretching.

    Listening carefully enough one can hear that sound of "one hand clapping", too, no?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fringe View post
    wow.

    Is it not Japan or somewhere like that where slurping is considered a compliment to the cook? And that one must leave a little something uneaten to show the host that one is sated?

    What is really hard sometimes is not to fart in yoga class with all that bending and stretching.

    Listening carefully enough one can hear that sound of "one hand clapping", too, no?
    Last time I looked, we weren't in Japan. Good grief. Manners are manners. There are good manners in Japan (if you want to go there) and then normal US manners.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally posted by gmohr View post
    Hmmm. So I notice that the original poster said, "I thought it was just me, or maybe I have issues with rude people. Like a pet peeve."

    Well, I'll probably get blasted for this, but I'm coming from the other side. My brother was recently diagnosed with misophonia. Which is why I was searching the web for info. I gotta ask - you have issues with "rude people"? OMG. We are close to 40, and for the last 25+ years, my brother has been intolerable. Our parents are both gone now, but I cannot tell you the pain he inflicted on them by his mimicking and snarky comments. The breaking point for me was when he started in on my kids a few years ago.

    I get that this is a neurological thing where he can't control how the sounds make him feel. But I have to believe he can control his reaction to the feelings. I hope that the medical diagnosis allows him to receive effective treatment and improve his behavior. If not, why can't he just walk away? It would be better than the constant criticism. And truly, at this point, if he can't change his behavior considerably, I don't think our relationship will survive much longer.

    By the way - you say everyone is cracking and smacking gum on a plane? No, they're not. I travel extensively for business, and I have rarely if ever even been able to hear anyone chewing gum on the plane. Especially over the engines and the air treatment system, etc. So perhaps you should stop yourself before characterizing THEM as "rude." My experience with this disorder is that it causes the sufferer to be extremely rude, while the rest of us have to walk on eggshalls and try (albeit always unsuccessfully) to not make any noise at all. Ever. Not the slightest sound. God forbid we breathe. Or sneeze. Or cough. Or even swallow our food. I literally have to walk on tiptoe around my brother lest he make an ugly comment. So I guess I'm the rude one? In what universe?!?

    Realize that you have a neurological abnormality that needs to be treated and stop characterizing the problem as other people's rudeness. Realize that the sounds other people make when eating or drinking or whatever are probably perfectly normal and polite - and that you need to carefully monitor your response to them. I promise you that if you keep viewing the rest of the world as "rude," you will soon have no relationships with other people left. Medical issue or not, yes we can be careful of the sounds we make - but that may or may not have any effect. This I have learned to my sorrow. After all the years of verbal abuse I have suffered at my brother's hands while trying to be as quiet as I can, I'm having a hard time caring what the reason is anymore. It's a sad thing to have to admit, but it's true. I hope that he can find effective treatment so that we can repair some of our relationship. But I'm not sure it's even possible anymore.
    This should be a safe forum for suffers to go to for support and hope. My Husband has this disorder and suffers greatly from the symptoms. People need to be able to talk about this without feeling more guilt than they already feel. He feels horrible for this disease and its not even his fault. I am involved with the healing process. Maybe you should get involved with your brothers treatment. Maybe you would understand it more. Maybe understanding what he is going through may lessen your bitterness.

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