Research reveals why some find the sound of others eating so irritating

Scientists have shed light on why everyday sounds such as chewing, drinking and breathing can be so maddening to some people that it drives them to despair.

While the familiar munching and slurping of the dinner table are innocuous enough to most, those with misophonia – literally a hatred of sound – can find them profoundly irritating, to the point that they become disgusted, anxious, angry and even violent.

Now, brain scans performed by researchers at Newcastle University have revealed that people with misophonia have stronger connectivity between the part of the brain that processes sounds and the part of the so-called premotor cortex which handles mouth and throat muscle movements.


  • BenderBender Citizen
    edited May 2021
    Oh wow, thank you for posting this, it's something that can make me irrationally mad.

    I never imitated such sounds though, I just want to get away from the offending noise and the person making it as fast as possible and at all costs. 

    Because of this, not having table manners is a big deal-breaker for me in any kind of relationship. I know it's not necessarily reflective of a person's character, but I just can't deal with it 🤷‍♂️

    For people who have children (or partners) with misophonia, I strongly recommend you don't take this personally or try to force them to "get used to it", it will make things much worse.

    viii) ASD and SPD

    Auditory hyper-responsivity is also observed in ASD. It is even thought that a dysfunction in different sensory modalities is characteristic for ASD [19]. Regarding this sensory dysfunction in ASD there is an overlap with the concept of SPD, a group of disorders that involve challenges in modulation, integration, organization, and discrimination of sensory input that causes inadequate responses to the input and disruptive emotional and behavioural patterns [20]. Typical auditory sensitivity in ASD and SPD is to unexpected and loud noises, such as vacuum cleaners or a dog barking [21]. This pattern is clearly different from the auditory triggers in the misophonia patients. Furthermore, none of our patients was diagnosed with ASD. Since the validity of SPD is still not widely accepted, further research is needed on this concept.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    This could be another one of my "I dont know what its like to live in someone elses body so I dont know whats considered normal" moments...
    Doesnt open mouth chewing of food irritate everyone, or sulrping of tea, extra gulping noises when drinking?
  • I think it's a question of the level of irritation felt.
  • BenderBender Citizen
    Amity said:
    This could be another one of my "I dont know what its like to live in someone elses body so I dont know whats considered normal" moments...
    Doesnt open mouth chewing of food irritate everyone, or sulrping of tea, extra gulping noises when drinking?
    Yes, in theory, most people don't like it.

    Just my experience since I've been struggling with this since I was a child:

    1. The intensity. As I said, most people would be bothered by slurping, smacking, open-mouth chewing etc, but they are able to tolerate it if they have to. I can't: if someone tries to force me to sit through it, I can't eat or concentrate on anything else but the sound. It kind of intensifies in my head, drowns everything else and literally becomes unbearable. It has some kind of cumulative effect on me and I end up feeling actual hate towards the person doing it, whom I can only perceive at the time as a torturer. I used to throw up as a child because of this.

    2. Depending on your culture, environment etc, a lot of people have decent table manners and make an effort when they're out or in front of strangers, but turn into a spectacle at home or in environments where they can "relax". No matter how nicely or politely you try to address the issue, most will get angry or mortally offended by any observation. I've seen a lot of parents online doing this in regards to their autistic children (jumping straight into irrational anger: "My child refuses to eat with us because I apparently eat like a pig"). For me, it was a factor in refusing to attend certain family events where such people participate.

    3. There are some differences in how people chew naturally - I understand your teeth and jaw can play a part. I've met some "furious masticators" and don't get me started on people chewing gum while talking 😶

    4. There's a lot of pressure from others to "get over it", claims it's not a big deal, that you're just being a fussy arsehole or even attempts to cure you through exposure 🤮

    It's interesting that misophonia can take many forms, but being repelled by loud eating noises seems to be the most common. For me, the sensation is very different from the one I get from loud noises for example or other types of sensorial overload.
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    I used to live with someone who slurped their tea and it cheesed me off to the point where I would leave the room before the urge to shout at them won.
    I dont experience it with the intensity described.
Sign In or Register to comment.