Why does the noise of people chewing bother us?

The experience of irritation or acute discomfort when you hear someone to chew, swallowor even breathing louder than normal is a phenomenon known as misophonia. It’s not just a lightweight nuisancebut of an intense reaction that can vary from anxiety And irritability to real anger And panic. This disorder, although less well known than others, has a profound impact on the daily lives of those who suffer from it, influencing interpersonal relationships, social choices and even working environments. Misphonia can be triggered by psychological and/or environmental reasons, and it is believed that it is due to the fact that in some people certain stimuli, for example auditory, called “triggers”, can activate certain brain areas responsible for the procession of emotions.

  • 1What is misophonia, the hatred of sound
  • 2Why do they bother us so much?
  • 3Can misophonia be cured?

What is misophonia, the hatred of sound

Misophonia, literally “I hate the sound”was classified as which for the first time I disturb doctor by Margaret and Pawel Jastreboff in 2001. Since then the disorder has attracted the attention of psychologists, neuroscientists and audiologists seeking to understand its roots and mechanisms.

Research indicates that misophonia is not simply a matter of acoustic sensitivity, but rather is a relationship between certain sounds and complex brain responses. Studies on brain activity have shown that individuals with misophonia have a different activation of certain brain areas compared to those who do not suffer from this disorder, in particular the “salience network”or the network of neurons which is activated in the filtering of particularly relevant stimuli at certain moments, until it spreads to the areas involved in emotional processing, such as the amygdala, when exposed to sounds “triggers”.

It’s the same principle why the noise of nails on the blackboard bothers us. Misophonia could therefore be caused by a different wiring in the brains of those who suffer from it, who would be predisposed to activate response behaviors to sonic threats.

misophonia brain sound

What can cause the discomfort caused by the noise of chewing?

Misophonia occurs most commonly inchildhood or in theadolescence and can be influenced by psychological factors and environmental. Let’s take a trivial example: a childhood birthday celebrated in a restaurant but ended unpleasantly could trigger in you a rejection of the noises generally associated with chewing and swallowing, noises easily present in a restaurant.

Repeated exposure to specific sounds in negative contexts it can strengthen the adverse reaction over time, creating a sort of conditioningin the same way in which Pavlov’s famous dogs began to drool at the mere sound of the bell, once exposed to the continuous association between sound and meal time.

restaurant food eating misophonia annoyance noise

Furthermore, there are those who suggest that misophonia may have a genetic component (for those interested, this would depend on an alteration of the TENM2 gene) and seems to be more commonly found in carriers of other psychological disorders, such as anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

Can misophonia be cured?

Currently, there is no definitive cure for misophonia, but management strategies exist which can help reduce its impact on daily life. There cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven effective in modifying the emotional response to trigger sounds. Relaxation and relaxation techniques mindfulness instead they work on managing the associated stress and anxiety. As always, theeducation of family and friends to the recognition of misophonic disorder, with a view to promoting a more inclusive and understanding environment, is crucial for the well-being of those who suffer acutely from it.

Misophonia is a complex disorder that goes beyond a simple aversion to certain sounds. It represents a challenge both for those suffering from it and for professionals trying to provide help and support. Research in this field is, as you have seen, still in its infancy, but it promises to open up new avenues for treatments more effective and for greater comprehension of the disorder.