Oct 18, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Misophonia: Scientists Reveal Why Certain Sounds Annoy People

Feb 08, 2017 01:07 PM EST


There are people who are extremely bothered by relatively mundane sounds such as sneezing, scratching, chewing or even the sound of water dripping from a faucet. Now, scientists finally crack the code as to why this happens to some people and why they just can't stand certain sounds.

Misophonia, or selective sound sensitivity syndrome, is a condition in which a person is mildly or severely reactive towards certain sounds depending on the severity of the condition. Derived from the Latin words 'miso' (hatred) and 'phonia' (sound), it is a neurological disorder wherein there is misinterpretation in the auditory stimuli in the central nervous system. This would cause some people to be highly sensitive towards particular sounds such as sneezing, scratching, water dripping, etc. In severe conditions, people have this feeling of wanting to get violent and lash out when hearing their trigger sounds. While normal people would dismiss misophonia, this condition is seriously not a joke.

People have long suffered from this condition but it is only in the 90s that misophonia was accepted as a medical condition and up until recently, the condition and what causes it have been quite a mystery. However, it seems that scientists have finally cracked why misophonia sufferers are reactive towards certain sounds.

In a report published on the journal Current Biology on Thursday, Dr. Sukhbinder Kumar of Newcastle University reveals that the anterior insular cortex, or the part of the brain connected to human senses and emotions, are exceedingly active in misophonia sufferers. He along with other neuroscientists conducted a study and scanned the brains of 20 misophonia sufferers and 22 non-misophonic people. While they were in the MRI, they were played a series of sounds and noises including the subjects' trigger sounds.

Furthermore, BBC reports that the study has also revealed that the anterior insular complex of those with misophonia is connected differently to other parts of the brain than non-misophonic subjects.

There is currently no cure to misophonia. However, people with this condition can undergo therapy to help them cope.

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