(No, unlike Sheldon, my mother did not have me tested.)
For as long as I can remember, certain sounds have triggered very intense stress and tension in me. The primary sounds that inexplicably irritate me come from other people eating and drinking, specifically crunching or chomping, smacking, gulping (swallowing air along with liquids), and, to a lesser extent, slurping or loud sipping. Sounds pretty childish, doesn’t it? It is also potentially harmful to relationships, especially when the sounds are coming from people you love more than your own life.
During my adult years, I came to understand that the problem was not with others. Oh sure, I thought people could eat and drink less like pigs at the trough, but it was obvious to me that I had a problem because no one else seemed to be ready to go into an uncontrollable rage over such ordinary, seemingly innocuous, and apparently unavoidable sounds. As a boy, I disciplined my self to learn how to drink without swallowing air, thus eliminating the gulping sound. I felt others were just lazy and inconsiderate because they wouldn’t do the same. As an adult, I realized that this was rather obsessive by everyone else’s standards.
So, I just tried to cope with those sounds as well as I could. For instance, music or the television is always on when it’s meal time or when we are having snacks. Restaurants are usually safe because of all the ambient noise which drowns out the sounds that set me off. But none of the coping mechanisms countered my self-deprecation.
Then, on February 7, 2018, one of my dear former youth posted a link on Facebook to an article. That article caused me to search for other articles because they were talking about me. And I’m not alone! I’m not crazy! There’s even a name for it: Misophonia. I suffer from Misophonia. It wasn’t even identified until 2000 or 2001. It's not even included as a word at dictionary.com. It has also been identified as “selective sound sensitivity syndrome.”
An article in nytimes.com (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/health/sounds-people-hate.html) states, “In a report on the latest study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, the neuroscientists say that brain scans of misophonia sufferers show that particular sounds, like eating and drinking, cause the part of their brain that processes emotions, the anterior insular cortex, to go into overdrive.” The study of it seems to be fairly new and there is a lot to be learned. For instance, I can’t recall anything remarkably negative about my wonderful childhood (loving parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.) but the nytimes.com article quotes Dr. Sukhbinder Kumar who states, “We think that misophonia may be heavily connected to recalling past memories, because people with misophonia have had very bad experiences.” Hmm. I think more research is needed. Or maybe I have still not adequately dealt with having my birthday overlooked on the day we were moving into a new house. (That would be very childish on my part.) Or my siblings, cousins, etc. owe me an apology. I like that one: Blame my siblings and cousins!