Do you find it difficult to sit in the same room with people and chew food?
Well you are not alone.
One in five Britons has a serious medical condition that makes them angry or upset when chewing.
British scientists say misophonia is a real health problem, affecting 18 per cent of adults in the UK – around 10 million of us.
And it’s different than the slight annoyance you feel when you hear your partner loudly eat a steak.
Misophonia can make sufferers feel “trapped” or even “helpless,” and often leads to the failure of relationships and friendships.
To make matters worse, it’s not just chewing that can trigger people.
Other triggers include slurping, snoring, and heavy breathing.
Whether it is a genetic condition or the result of previous trauma is still unclear. Research continues to investigate whether it is an auditory or neurological problem in the brain.
Despite its prevalence, only one in seven (14 percent) of study participants had heard of it.
Until recently, those affected lived with the disease in silence because it was so poorly understood.
It was only given a name in 2001.
The psychologist Dr. Jane Gregory of Oxford University said: “Misophonia is more than just being annoyed by certain sounds.
“It’s about feeling trapped or helpless when you can’t escape them.
She added, “It’s about feeling like there’s something wrong with the way you react to sounds, but also about not being able to do anything about it.”
“It can be a great relief for people to find out they are not alone.”
The Oxford and King’s College London study surveyed a group of 772 adults in the UK.
They were asked to rate their feelings towards various everyday “triggering” sounds.
It found that 142 reached the “significant symptom” threshold of misophonia – 18.4 percent.
Loud chewing caused the most dissatisfaction among survey participants, while many of the other sounds caused widespread irritation.
The study was published in the journal Plos One.