If the sound of coughing, repetitive tapping or a crisp packet rustling ever makes you angry, you may have misophonia – a strong dislike or dislike for certain sounds.
Scientists say 20 percent of people suffer from the condition to varying degrees, with less than one percent of people experiencing the most extreme symptoms.
While some may dismiss misophonia as trivial, the little-understood condition can lead to anxiety and depression, aggression, and even physical violence.
To help you see if you are one of those affected, MailOnline has created an interactive test that asks a short series of questions with multiple choice answers.
The test estimates whether you have the condition and if so, whether it ranges from ‘mild’ to ‘extreme’.
SCROLL DOWN TO TAKE THE INTERACTIVE TEST
Misophonia, which literally means “hatred of sound,” is a condition in which sufferers experience intense and involuntary reactions to certain sounds made by other people
MailOnline’s test is based on the Amsterdam Misophonia Scale (A-MISO-S), a tool developed by researchers in the Dutch capital in 2013.
The test consists of just six questions with multiple choice answers that assign points between zero and four.
At the end of the test, it adds up your points to determine whether you have misophonia – and whether your symptoms are ‘mild’, ‘moderate’, ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’.
However, readers should note that it is not a clinical diagnosis, which is made by professionals through clinical interviews and questionnaires.
Misophonia – which literally means “hatred of sound” – causes patients to experience intense and involuntary reactions to certain sounds made by other people, known as “triggers.”
Trigger sounds can be the sound of someone chewing, breathing, or speaking and are usually related to mouth, throat, or facial activity.
But other examples include the click of a pen, the tap of a foot, ticking clocks, shoes scraping on the floor, and a buzzing refrigerator.
In extreme cases, misophonia will cause intense anger and a desire to react aggressively, potentially posing a danger to those around.
These reactions also lead to feelings of guilt in those affected, sometimes leading to anxiety and depression.
Concept image shows the causes of misophonia, which refers to being irritated by sounds other people make, rather than actions. Note that misokinesia, or a “hatred of movements,” is a different condition
Those with the more severe forms may find themselves unable to tolerate family, work, public, or social situations.
Misophonia or Misokinesia?
Misophonia and misokinesia are two different conditions that have received more attention from researchers in recent years.
Misophonia is a condition in which patients experience intense and involuntary reactions to sounds made by others, known as ‘triggers’.
Misokinesia is a psychological response to seeing someone else’s small but repetitive movements.
According to the University of Sussex, misophonia is little understood compared to other conditions, including why some people are more vulnerable to developing the condition than others.
The university has a team of psychologists dedicated to promoting “a clear scientific understanding of misophonia,” especially in children and young people.
It follows a study published earlier this week that one in five of the UK population suffers from some degree of misophonia.
The researchers surveyed more than 700 Britons, most of whom had never heard of the term ‘misophonia’.
The study asked about common ‘trigger sounds’ and asked respondents to describe their emotional response and its intensity using a 10-point scale.
Overall, 18 percent were found to have significant symptoms of misophonia, with irritability being the most common negative reaction to triggers.
Some individuals with misophonia reported feeling trapped or helpless if they could not get away from these sounds.
For people with misophonia, trigger sounds can range from someone breathing to the tapping of a pen (file photo)
“The experience of misophonia is more than just being annoyed by a sound,” said senior study author Dr Jane Gregory at the University of Oxford.
“Misophonia can cause feelings of helplessness and entrapment when people can’t escape an unpleasant noise.”
“Often people with misophonia feel bad about themselves for reacting the way they do, especially when they react to sounds from loved ones.”
Misophonia differs from misokinesia – a similar psychological reaction to the sight of someone else’s small but repetitive movements.
A Canadian team of researchers reported in 2021 that misokinesia affects about one in three people.
People with misophonia may have a “hypersensitive” brain connection, research shows
People who are extremely responsive to certain sounds, particularly loud chewing and breathing, may have a “hypersensitive” brain connection, a 2021 study found.
Scientists at Newcastle University discovered increased connectivity between the auditory cortex and the motor control areas associated with the face, mouth and throat in people suffering from misophonia.
The findings suggest that misophonia is a “manifestation of activity in parts of the motor system involved in producing those sounds,” according to the study published in the journal. Journal of Neuroscience.
Scientists at Newcastle University discovered increased connectivity between the auditory cortex and motor control areas associated with the face, mouth and throat in people suffering from misophonia
Misophonia has long been considered a sound processing disorder, but findings from the University of Newcastle suggest it is much more than that.