Do tea slurping, crisp crunching and biscuit munching up-close drive you to distraction or outright rage? Then you might be suffering from a common disorder called misophonia, literally a hatred of sounds, new research suggests.
The finding, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, highlighted in The Guardian, shows that those suffering from the condition are so averse to everyday sounds (which others might not even notice), they can experience a catalogue of involuntary negative responses, from anger to anxiety.
Researchers at Newcastle University have discovered that people with misophonia are essentially wired differently, with stronger connectivity between the part of the brain that processes sounds and the part of brain which handles mouth and throat muscle movements.
The good news for suffers is that the condition can be alleviated by retraining the mirror neuron system, thus breaking the link between particularly painful trigger sounds and exaggerated responses.
So, if you do nonchalantly munch a morning bowl of cornflakes or lunch at your desk, spare a thought for any sufferers that might surround you, there are more of them than you might think. Research on undergraduate medics in the UK this year found that about 12% experienced moderate symptoms of misophonia, the Guardian reports.