You chew that apple and I am going to stab you. In the eye.

I have been sensitive to sound for almost forever.  But in the last 10 years it has got remarkably worse.

These are a couple, in no real order, that drive me to anger and rage almost instantaneously:-

1.  Kids chewing cereal …. even Pro-nutro … but you can only imagine what the sound of crunchy cereal does to me head/mind/sanity.

2.  Slurping tea or coffee – and my best is slurping soup.

3.  Repeatedly tapping of feet onto a surface (my kids kick the centre pole in our kitchen whilst eating) or Isabelle picks up her spoon and drops it on the counter, picks it up, and drops it — repeat until mother bursts a blood vessel.

4.  The sound of normal chewing …. I always sit next to Kennith at the dining room table, and I have been wondering whether it would be rude for me to move to the other end of the table.  We have an 8 seater, me on one end, him on the other at dinner time … strange much?

5. Sucking of marrow bones, or chicken bones or anything that makes your lips smack …without a doubt this is when I excuse myself from the table to go and attend to a child … even when I am out without my children.

6.  Sniffing…. I keep tissues in my bag for the sole purpose of handing to my children and strangers.  I make it look like an act of guidance or caring.  Meanwhile.  Not so much.

7.  A door that isn’t closed properly that knocks every time a breeze blows down the passage.

8.  Someone flicking through television channels, and the variance in sound that occurs as they move from one channel to another.

9.  Reality shows – especially American Idols or X-Factor – there is a severe pitch variance, and a lot of screaming and loud voices and then the low sound as someone says something deep and meaningful and then the screaming again.  Does my head in.

10.  Wind that whistles through window joints, and the bang-bang-bang that usually occurs on windows.

11.  The squeezing and sucking sounds caused when someone drinks from one of those water bottle numbers.  I can’t.  I really cannot bear it.

12.  Teeth sucking …. like after dinner and then there is this teeth sucking.

Okay let me stop.

Now that I make a list, I realise that the list is rather long and I have not touched the ice berg of the things that make me lose my shit completely.

I think there are lots of noises/sounds that we do not like.  But with me it does more than just annoy me.  It makes me angry, and irritated, and well just fkn angry.

My heart starts to pound.  I can feel my eyes narrowing.  I focus on the sound at the exclusion of everything else and then I can feel I get angrier and angrier as the sound gets louder and more acute in my ear.

Kennith always says that if we go to the movies, I will attract the guy with the slush puppy who sucks, and does that shoesh-shoesh-shoesh sound as he pushes his straw through the slush to loosen up the liquid, for another suck.

Kennith is probably right – I attract these people like nobodies business.  But the reality is that no matter where the slush puppy person sits, I will be able to hear them.  And the added problem is that I can’t hear the movie, as the sound gets louder and louder and louder for me.

This issue alone is probably the main reason I no longer go to movies.

Of course I just put it down to the fact that I was a miserable cow with too many issues to number – seems fair enough, so let’s not totally discount that as a good reason for my being irritable.

Then I saw this word on Friday “Misophonia” and suddenly so much makes sense, or at least I do not feel so guilty for always feeling so damn angry when there is a sound that sets my teeth on edge.

I thought this definition was bang on the money:

The response has been described as a reflexive emotional flood of rage and panic with a storm of fight-or-flight reactions becoming paramount. Adrenaline flooding, face flushing, heart-pounding and/or shaking and the need to physically flee or attack are often experienced. The mindful thoughts that the emotional reflex/response is unreasonable given the facts of the stimulus is often actually harmless come only after the fight-or-flight response is in full force and the affected person may find themselves in a constant mode of “talking themselves down” into a normal state of calm.

The hypocrisy of it all, is that I make a noise when I eat, and I often flick my nail when I am alone – I also love chewing raw pasta — all of these sounds would drive me to commit manslaughter if someone else did it.

According to my research there is no cure – one either must avoid the sound, do extensive CBT or take enough medication to not hear anything.

One bloke suggested moving to a quiet town, and never being in public places so the sounds of the masses do not drive him to insanity. He also has opted to work from home as “office” sounds also set him off.

Sadly I think it is too late for me.  What is sadder is that I understand his point of view, and his plan does not seem that unreasonable to me.

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18 Comments

  1. George

     /  August 8, 2012

    Oh my goodness, I can relate to every single item on that list. Right now I’m sat at my office desk trying to find a way to approach the girl opposite me who has recently taken to drinking from one of those sucky water bottles. Every 3-4 minutes she’ll take a big, sucky slurp and I could cry (and she’s BIG on water drinking, she gets through at least 6 a day I’d guess). I’ve broached the subject of my ‘sound intolerances’ in the office before and I just get laughed at and called a weirdo and psycho. I can hear the throat noises my boss makes when eating sandwiches from across the office…he also has a habit of sucking his fingers every time he touches something (not even food), and clipping his fingernails at his desk. NAIL CLIPPERS!! That little noise kills me. Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom to have a little cry just to let the feeling out…

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 8, 2012

      My son and husband use those “sucky” water bottles, I seriously start wondering how long it will take to go and fetch a knife, stab them and then the bottle.
      Everthing YOU describe is just the sort of thing that can muck up a perfectly okay day!

      Reply
  2. I have remarkable ears. I hear people whisper and would hear exactly what they say, even if I’m down the passage. The sound of a television set-especially rugby commentary-drives me INSANE. I too get angry. My heart beats faster. I say the most terrible things in my mind. I also hate it when people do ANYTHING with their mouths, type too loud and several other things. Mostly it’s like overstimulation of my senses. So I understand how you (and newborn babies!) must feel. It’s frustrating to live with.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  May 30, 2012

      It is,but I think it is reassuring to know that there is a biological reason that you experience sound this way, and though you can’t do too much about it, it is better than thinking you are a crazy angry bitch all the time.

      Reply
  3. aeroplanejane

     /  May 30, 2012

    OMG I am the one in the office clicking my pen or tapping my foot. In my head it is music, for other people it is noise sadly.

    Reply
  4. KennithB

     /  May 29, 2012

    I need to stress how much of an issue this is!! Connor can eat a banana in another room with the TV blaring and all Celeste will hear is the mushing sound of the banana. While, as she admits, chewing raw pasta is strangely okay for her to do!

    Reply
  5. V

     /  May 29, 2012

    3, 4, 7 and 10 get to me. I thought I was just being strange when I started getting irritated at my husband for chewing so ‘loudly’ next to me. And he always seems to gnash his teeth together while chewing! I suppose that is what you are supposed to do but so loudly? We also have a braai outside with a flap that is closed when it is not used. Our domestic worker always closes it so that it makes a noise when the wind blows. Even if it is the middle of the night I have to get up and fix it! I agree that it is a symptom of ADD as well as my son has the same issues. I think it helps him to play music while he is studying.
    Maybe you could find a white noise CD or download white noise onto an Ipod and listen to it through earphones esp while eating. We have white noise in the office and it drowns out quite a bit, but not irritating sniffing and such!!

    Reply
  6. blessedbarrenness

     /  May 29, 2012

    I have a friend like this. It’s so bad for her that she can’t have music/radio/TV on in the background during the conversation because it drives her dilly.
    Interestingly, this is also common amongst ADHD sufferers (my brother) he gets so distracted about outside stimuli, no matter how soft, that he can’t concentrate on the conversation going on around him!

    Reply
  7. The Ninja Mommy

     /  May 29, 2012

    OMG thank-You for giving my chewing illness a name….I CANNOT handle it..I recall sitting at a dinner table when I was 13, putting my hands over my ears, screaming and running to my room because the person next to me was chewing. I HATE THAT SOUND….it makes me want to slit their jugular vein! Now that I have a toddler, I have had to drown out the sound with incessant conversation to distract myself!

    Reply
  8. Isn’t there any way that you can lock out the sounds (say when you’re watching the movie)? Must be so hard when sounds irritate you so much

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  May 29, 2012

      I chatted to my Dr CBT today about it, and he said it is often something that people with anxiety disorder have syptoms of or are triggers. He suggested having a radio on so that it creates “white noise” – but I do not really like to listen to music radio as the variance in sound is a bit of a problem for me, and some songs make me angry… because of their constant repitition of a lyric or a phrase that is said the entire way through a song, so I opt for talk radio.

      But talk radio them becomes something I tune in to, and then get angry with if someone “interrupts” what I am listening to.

      So right now, no really good solutions.

      Reply
  9. This is David – a lot of these noises irritate him too – most of them I dont even hear or can tune out. Whats odd is he can’t hear the loud, obvious noises that I can hear. Weird!

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  May 29, 2012

      It really is a problem. There are sounds I hear that Kennith either does not hear or does not notice. But for me it is like it is the loudest noise in the room, and takes me from mildly annoyed to borderline suicidal/murder someone in 5 seconds.

      Reply
      • KennithB

         /  May 29, 2012

        like the spoon or fork against the kids teeth. that gets you to hit the roof while no one else in the world can hear it!!

        Reply
        • reluctantmom

           /  May 30, 2012

          Jingos, I totally forgot about that —- that is definitely torture!

          Reply
          • Yeah, I’m not the only one. Thanks so much for this post. I thought I was losing it. I could have written this list. ALL the things I hate. And utensils against the teeth…. worst thing ever!!!!

            Reply
            • reluctantmom

               /  June 1, 2012

              I must confess, that I forgot about the utensils against the teeth, until it was mentioned.
              I have opted to move away from where my kids eat when it is dinner/lunch/breakfast time as I can no longer bear the clanking against the teeth. Oh my giddy aunt.

  10. Geez louise that must be hard! You deserve praise for not having forked anyone across the dinner table yet. Or maybe you have …?

    Reply

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