If you find the sound of other people chewing, breathing heavily or tapping their fingers unreasonably irritating, you might suffer from misophonia – and you're not alone. Loose Women panellist Ruth Langsford has revealed she struggles with the disorder.
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Misophonia sufferers get a lot more irritated by certain everyday sounds and Ruth has spoken out about it openly on several episodes of This Morning.
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During a phone-in where a viewer described how the police were required to get involved as a fight broke out with their partner over loud chewing, Ruth said she more than sympathised.
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"I can understand that, I can understand that with my misphonia," she explained.
"If someone’s breathing heavily near me – I think what happens is I tune in. Certain noises – if someone was clicking a pen over there, everything else around me becomes kind of dulled and all I can hear is that. Even if it’s a stranger, sometimes I have to go: 'Excuse me, can you stop that?' And then I blurt it out and I’m really embarrassed."
Ruth finds herself irritated by sounds others might not notice
Misophonia is a clinical diagnosis and doesn’t have a cure, meaning while there is certain treatment to help Ruth and fellow sufferers soothe the symptoms, they'll have the condition for life. We caught up with Dr Chris George to explain more.
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What is misophonia?
"It’s a condition in which individuals experience intense anger and disgust when they are confronted with sounds made by other human beings," he said. "For example, sounds such as chewing, breathing and lip smacking may trigger intense anger."
What are the symptoms of misophonia?
Dr Chris added that irritation is the main one, then sometimes turning into disgust, anger, becoming verbally abusive, or sometimes even physically abusive to the person making the noise.
Misophonia can make sufferers feel angry or disgusted by others
Is misophonia curable?
Dr Chris confirms that misophonia is a "lifelong condition" with no cure.
How can misophonia be treated?
According to Dr Chris, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy in which your brain is rewired to perceive the noises being made in a different way i.e. not as something irritating) and counselling are both good forms of treatment. The goal is to reframe your way of thinking about said noises – they’re not annoying, they’re simply inevitable.
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