It's a nightmare — and it's almost ruined my relationship.
One of the most annoying sounds in my life is the sound of my boyfriend eating, specifically when he sits down next to me with a bag of chips. I cringe immediately, knowing what's going to happen. He grabs that first chip — and sometimes has dip along with it — and CRUNCH.
For most normal people that sound isn't an issue. But for me, it sounds like someone is taking a hammer to glass and shattering it right next to my ear.
Annoying enough, right? Wrong. Even if he's in another room watching television, it still sounds like he's sitting right next to me crunching on his chips. And don't even get me started on the sound that occurs when his fork or spoon hits his teeth — it takes all of me to not to crawl out of my skin or stab him.
Other times when he eats, it sounds like he's eating peanut butter, almost a smacking noise, and it's so annoying I want to put his head through a brick wall. Sometimes I've had to put on headphones on or listen to music just to tune him out.
So what's my deal?
I have a disorder called Misophonia, which according to WebMD, is "also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome. It starts with a trigger, often an oral sound — the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe, chew, yawn, or whistle. Sometimes a small repetitive motion is the cause — someone fidgets, jostles you, or wiggles their foot."
Knowing that I suffer from an actual medical disorder, my boyfriend has tried to change his eating habits but it still persists. (It doesn't help that one of the things that gives him the most pleasure in life is crunchy food.)
I've read articles about other couples living with this disease and the advice is either that the person with the disorder sucks it up and becomes de-sensitized, or they leave the other person and find someone who doesn't annoy them with their eating habits as much.
But it's not just the sound of chewing that bothers me. Leaf blowers, noisy people talking outside our apartment, screaming or crying children, the sound of popcorn, hot dog wrappers, and nachos at the movie theater — it's all I can do to not get up and physically shush people.
It doesn't start out with me wanting to strangle people, though. When I hear an unpleasant noise, I start to feel annoyed very quickly. As it continues, it builds and gets to a point where I almost need a punching bag to unleash all the energy that builds from the annoyance. I've tried breathing deeply but it usually becomes too much and then headphones are my best friend.
So how do I deal with such aggravation — especially coming from the man I cherish so dearly? I love him, so I just grin and bear it. I rib him once in awhile but sometimes I tell him how loud he's being and he tries to quiet it down.
I haven't yet seen any particular cure for this disorder. Though I have not been diagnosed by a physician, there are plenty of medical websites that describe all the symptoms I exhibit. They all say that there is no real cure for it. So, this is likely something I'll probably live with the rest of my life. I'm not crazy; I just have an unfortunate aversion to noises. (And hey, at least there's a name for it now!)
If you find yourself annoyed by the sound of chewing or whistling, you aren't alone. There are many of us out there who deal with this all our lives. It's a real disorder and there's no cure other than working to de-sensitize yourself. Desensitization hasn't worked for me, so I take life one day at a time struggling with the loud CRUNCH. I hope you fair better.