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Does the sound of your friend breathing drive you batty? Do you avoid restaurants because the sound of chewing gnaws right through you? Does your co-worker’s clicky keyboard make you want to climb out the window? If certain sounds drive you up the wall but don’t seem to bother anyone else around you, you might have misophonia. The condition, which translates to “hatred of sound,” is the extreme emotional and physical reaction to specific noises.

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1. What Is Misophonia?

People with misophonia or “selective sound sensitivity syndrome” experience involuntary emotional or physiological responses triggered by specific sounds. People without the condition generally considered these responses extreme.

Misophonia causes individuals to be affected by common sounds, usually made by others, to which most people do not pay attention. Their reactions can range from irritation and anger to panic and considerable emotional distress.

The severity of a person's reactions does not determine whether or not they have misophonia. The determining factor is whether or not the person has an immediate response of disgust or irritation to a single instance of the trigger sound.

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