Hate listening to people eat? There’s a word for that!

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Do you or someone you know react very badly to the sounds of other people eating? Well there’s a word for it and it’s not just cranky!

Misophonia, meaning “hatred of sound”, is a proposed neurological condition in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses others may deem unreasonable.

Reactions to trigger sounds range from anger and annoyance to activating a fight-or-flight response. The condition is sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome. Common triggers include oral sounds (e.g., loud breathing, chewing, swallowing), clicking sounds (e.g., keyboard tapping, finger tapping, windshield wipers), and sounds associated with movement (e.g., fidgeting). Oftentimes, hated sounds are repetitive in nature.

Although the condition was first proposed in 2000, it has yet to be considered a diagnosable condition. Misophonia is not classified as an auditory or psychiatric condition, and so is different from phonophobia (fear of sound); there are no standard diagnostic criteria, and there is little research on how common it is or the treatment.