My feelings for food have two extremes. One, the love for preparing, cooking, and eating amazing meals and snacks. It has even led me to join this awesome community where literally everything we do revolves around food. Like, heck yeah.
On the other hand, I have a hatred towards something that is strongly based on food: people chewing with their mouths open. In fact, it’s not even limited to just that. Pretty much any unintentional noise that is made while eating physically makes me angry.
Honestly, I feel crazy for saying that. Is that normal? Eating is such a happy thing, so why does my mood change so quickly as soon as someone scrapes their teeth against their fork or slurps their drink?
The answer possibly lies in a physiological abnormality called misophonia, according to Aage R. Moller, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas. Misophonia is a strong dislike towards specific sounds, often leading to physical rage.
Some researchers believe that misophonia lays on a spectrum, so you may experience similar reactions, just not on a clinical scale. So whether you only cringe when you hear the snap of bubble gum or it causes so much pain that you have to leave social events, you could be experiencing misophonia.
From what has been researched, misophonia appears to be pretty common. In a study that focused on 500 college students, 20% of them reported having clinically significant symptoms of misophonia. Although this might not be able to be successfully generalized to a larger population, it definitely shows that people are affected by the annoying sounds of chewing, whether it is a medical condition or not.
So far, science doesn’t have any solution to this problem. Except telling your friends to be more aware and, more importantly, silent while eating. Good luck and happy eating!