If you’ve ever been tempted to confront someone slurping their soup in a restaurant, or if a person breathing loudly next to you in the movie theater is enough to make your blood boil, then you’re not alone: You’re one of many people suffering from a genuine brain abnormality called misophonia.
Misophonia, a disorder which means sufferers have a hatred of sounds such as eating, chewing, loud breathing or even repeated pen-clicking, was first named as a condition in 2001.
Over the years, scientists have been skeptical about whether or not it constitutes a genuine medical ailment, but now new research led by a team at the U.K.’s Newcastle University has proven that those with misophonia have a difference in their brain’s frontal lobe to non-sufferers.
In an report published in the journal Current Biology, scientists said scans of misophobia sufferers found changes in brain activity when a ‘trigger’ sound was heard. Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in their emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds. The researchers also found that trigger sounds could evoke a heightened physiological response, with increased heart rate and sweating.