Now we know the real reason certain sounds send us crazy
Are you one of those people who’s driven to the brink of madness when you hear people chewing, cutting nails or scratching skin? Well there’s a word for you (and, no it’s not ‘oversensitive’) you might have an actual neurological disorder called mysophonia, which literally means ‘the hatred of sound’.
But it’s not all bad because researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois reckon that those who are more easily annoyed by certain noises might actually be creative geniuses – so tell that to your boyfriend next time he starts clipping his talons on the sofa in front of you.
American researchers carried out a study on 100 people and found that those who have heightened sensitivity to certain sounds means they have ‘atypical attention’ which corresponds to more creativity than average. Their findings also said: ‘creative achievement is associated with “leaky” sensory gating’ – which basically means that those who were unable to filter out irrelevant sounds were so busy thinking of amazing ideas they couldn’t block out distractions.
Speaking to Science Daily, Zabelina, a Ph.D candidate at Northwestern said: ‘If funnelled in the right direction, these sensitivities can make life more rich and meaningful.’
Mysophonia is a condition where the central nervous system sends signals to your auditory stimuli to respond to a negative emotion such as panic, disgust or anger.
However, the condition has no cure and typically comes about in teenagers, getting progressively worse as you get older – meaning that if you’re irked by a couple of sounds now, you’re only going to get more and more irritable as you get older. Sniffing, typing, slurping, crunching, breathing and clicking are some of the most common sounds which evoked strong reactions – and even the anticipation of such noises can set some people off.
So if you can keep a lid on that rage the next time someone chews with their mouth open, you could unlock the key to a happier life.
Which sounds irritate you the most? Tweet us @marieclaire