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Why Making Sounds While Eating Ticks Off Some People?

First Posted: Feb 04, 2017 03:38 AM EST

Most people get annoyed when someone makes slurping and biting sounds while eating. Some others hate the sound of nails getting scraped down a blackboard. But what if it is more than just an annoying sound? For some people, these kinds of sounds could feel threatening and some others may panic by just hearing them from afar. Scientists have categorized hypersensitive reaction of brain as a type of brain disorder, which they named "misphonia."

The term misphonia was first coined in 2001, and it was defined as a brain complication, which is associated with the hatred of the sounds produced during eating, chewing, while breathing loudly or even clicking a pen repeatedly, TIME reported.

The research done by a group of scientists at Newcastle University, U.K., on people who suffer from this typical mental ailment showed a distinctive pattern of brain activities in the frontal lobe, as compared to those who do not suffer with misphonia. The results of the study were published in the Current Biology journal.

Experts also suggest that people who suffer from misphonia have an abnormal emotional control system, which easily gets ticked off by trigger sounds. A survey of such misphonic people revealed that making sounds while eating is one of most common triggers, which is enough to evoke panic-induced physiological responses like increased heart rate and excessive sweating.

BBC covered the daily struggle of people who suffer from misphonia. Olana Tansley-Hancock, who is now 29, developed the condition when she was eight. She is hypersensitive to the rustling sound that comes out while eating crisps.

"I feel there's a threat and get the urge to lash out - it's the fight or flight response," Olana said.

Olana tries to avoid places like movie theaters, where it is common for people to munch on popcorn and chips. She even had to leave her job, only after three months, just because she could not bear the sound of others eating.

"I spent more time crying and having panic attacks than working," Olana added.

Though misphonia seems like a simple annoying behavior, it is a daily struggle for those who live with it.

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