Going Crazy From Annoying Sounds Is An Actual Medical Condition

Feb 5, 2017
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Trigger alert - does someone incessantly...

(SOUNDBITE OF PEN CLICKING)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Clicking their pen drive you crazy? Or do noisy eaters make you irate? (Chewing) Ah, the things I do for NPR. Well, researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. have proven that noise sensitivity is an actual medical condition. It's called misophonia. Apparently, sufferers experience changes in brain activity when they hear an annoying sound. A sound as innocuous as papers rustling can trigger a fight-or-flight reaction. One sufferer of misophonia told The Telegraph newspaper that her doctor laughed at her when she explained her symptoms. She said, it's a huge relief to know it's not all in her head. Olana Tansley Hancock said, the sounds of her family chowing down at dinner time used to drive her to flee to her room. She said, quote, "I can only describe it as a feeling of wanting to punch people in the face when I heard the noise of them eating." Olana, I feel your pain.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BEAU HUNKS SEXTETTE'S "THE PENGUIN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.