Have you ever gritted your teeth in annoyance over someone chewing their food loudly and you just can’t escape that as they are sitting right next to you? To people that can relate to this, good news is that there’s an explanation behind this. This selectiveness to certain sounds is a syndrome known as Misophonia, where people who have this are sensitive to sounds, usually made by others, that are common and not given much attention to. This sensitivity triggers a flight or fight reaction when people who have this condition hear these noises. The research being conducted on this is still in its early stages and no concrete results have been obtained but some findings from reliable studies help explain this syndrome a little better and give useful insight and perspective into the mechanisms of this disorder.
According to a health article published by Harvard University, a British-based research team conducted a study by taking 20 adults who suffered from Misophonia and 22 adults who did not suffer from Misophonia as their subject. They made them listen to some common displeasing sounds ranging from chewing and breathing, some universally irritating noises like babies crying and people screaming and also some mildly irking sounds such as that of rain. The study found that people who had Misophonia were triggered by hearing the common displeasing sounds which did not bother the 22 adults who did not suffer from Misophonia. Misophonics were far more affected by these sounds. The research also concluded that other noises made both types of adults trigger in the same manner and there was not much difference in the hearing and reaction pattern. Another finding that came to light was that people who have Misophonia show greater tendencies and signs of outward stress like increased heart rate and sweating while hearing these sounds as compared to people who do not have this syndrome.
Another study, published in May of this year in the journal of Scientific Reports, took 21 Misophonic adults and 23 non Misophonic adults and made them watch videos which consisted of these triggering noises and the results concluded were on the same wave length as that of the British-based team findings.
The deduction drawn from these researches shows that Misophonic peoples’ brains are wired in a different manner and hence make them perceive certain noises in a triggering and stress inducing manner which might be considered more appropriate responses to typical gritting noises rather than some common sounds compared to other people. Good news is that different behavioral treatments for this condition exist throughout US and so there’s a good chance they might penetrate Pakistan’s healthcare system as well.