Life

Science Has Unlocked Why The Sound Of People Chewing Makes You Want To Commit Murder


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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.

For the experiment, the participants listened to three different sounds. The first was a “trigger” sound (eating and breathing sounds). The second was an “unpleasant” sound (baby crying and person screaming). The last sound was neutral (rain or wind). After listening to the different sounds, participants were told to rate how annoying the sounds were.

What they found was, for people with misophonia, trigger sounds like loud chewing make their hearts beat exponentially faster and many started to sweat. You see, their brain chemistry is different. They can’t help that you’re chewing gives them the heebie jeebies because that’s just the way the’re wired. When the hear a “trigger sound”, they will immediately become anxious and try to get away as quickly as possible.

So, next time you feel yourself slowly slipping into a burning rage because your spouse is nibbling on pretzels, just know it’s not your fault. Your brain just doesn’t like listening to that horrible, crunching echo coming from their gyrating jaws. It’s science.

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