Several years ago I was flying in a small prop plane from Brussels, Belgium to Pisa, Italy with a, unbeknownst to me, sinus infection. I can truly say that I have never felt pain like I did that day. All of a sudden I heard POP POP, and then it felt like my teeth were falling out. I was involuntarily crying and then my ears were clogged for about three days.
Needless to say, my hearing has never been the same since. For several years I said I couldn't hear things, then my dad asked a question that really clarified the situation. I have to have the TV up loud not because I can't hear the people talking, I hear there is noise, but because I can't differentiate their words. It all sounds like a big glob of talking, like the teacher on the Peanuts.
I say all that to say, I am also incredibly sensitive to sounds. I don't know when it started, but for years I have been affected by sounds. The sound of someone chewing gum with their mouth open, someone biting their nails, someone clicking their computer mouse incessantly or someone breathing loud has annoyed the living hell out of me. I mean ANNOYED. I don't know how to describe it other than to say it's like my body actually hurts when I hear the clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick of someone's mouse. I don't care if we're watching a movie or what, that sound makes my body hurt. There was this girl in my class this semester that chewed gum with her mouth open like she'd never seen gum before, and it was so distracting. Like I sat in class with my hand on my ear so it would help mitigate the noise.
I always thought this was because I had a short fuse because I'm uptight and easily annoyed. While it might be true that I'm uptight, my sister Erin posted this on my Facebook wall the other day:
Could it be?! Could this be an actual thing?
I looked it up on the internet, and low and behold:
Misophonia, literally "hatred of sound", is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft. The disorder comprises a unique set of symptoms, most likely attributable to neurological causes unrelated to hearing-system dysfunction. It can be described as an immediate and extremely negative emotional response accompanied by an automatic physiological flight response to identifiable auditory, visual, and olfactory stimuli. The disorder disrupts daily living and can have a significant impact on social interactions. People who have misophonia are most commonly angered, and even enraged, by common ambient sounds, such as other people clipping their nails, brushing teeth, chewing crushed ice, eating, slurping, drinking, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, chewing gum, laughing, snoring, typing on a keyboard, whistling or coughing; saying certain consonants; or repetitive sounds.
Homie, this is me. It's ME. Like I said before, my body actually HURTS when someone bites their nails in my presence. It's like everything else fades into the background and that noise is magnified by 1000000000.
I asked Erin, "Can anything be done about this?!" and she says, "Yes. Therapy." So you're saying there's not a magic pill?
So if you're near me and you're chewing your gum or biting your nails and thinking nothing of it, but I'm glaring at you, it's because you are literally AFFECTING MY CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM.
Just so you know.