So, you’re on a first date and everything seems to be going right. “I could spend the rest of my life with this person,” you think to yourself. But then it happens. They are nervously munching on assorted bar nuts. You understand that first dates can be nerve-racking. But, the incessant crunching sound of almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts is quickly going from cute to enraging.
Only moments ago, this person seemed like the perfect mate. Someone to grow old with. You even imagined holding hands as you, aged and gray, rocked together in matching rocking chairs as you fondly look back on your life together. Now, you are quickly thinking up reasons to bolt in an effort to get as far away as possible.
Why does the sound of someone else eating drive you into a fury of a thousand suns? Well, science finally has your answer. You’re actually not a monster. You just have a condition known as misophonia. This condition, also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, is also the reason why you cringe when something drags their nails along a chalkboard.
Scientists did brain scans on twenty people with misophonia and twenty-two without the condition for a recent study published in the Journal of Current Biology. “Misophonia is an affective sound-processing disorder characterized by the experience of strong negative emotions (anger and anxiety) in response to everyday sounds, such as those generated by other people eating, drinking, chewing, and breathing,” reads the study.