Who is Miss Ophonia? My wife is. So, I have a wife. A wonderful patient woman who puts up with me every day. I know that here, making fun of things 500 words at a time, I must seem like I’m the perfect guy. (You all were thinking that, right?) But to her, I’m a constant collection of irritating noises. I breath too loud. I chew too loud. My hair grows too loud.
According to WebMD, “Misophonia, also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, starts with a trigger. It’s often an oral sound — the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe, chew, yawn, or whistle. Sometimes a small repetitive motion is the cause — someone fidgets, jostles you, or wiggles their foot.” Like any disorder of the brain or body there is a spectrum. For a person with misophonia, reactions to these sounds can range from mild anxiety to rage.
See? If Kelly Ripa can have it, anybody can. Ironically, my only misophonia symptom is Kelly Ripa’s voice. It’s no wonder both Regis and Michael Strahan left her. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard.
It may seem like I’m writing this as a public service to educate others. I’m not. I’m writing it so that if I’m ever found stabbed to death with a mouth full of potato chips, or crisps as my UK friends say (I bloody love crisps), I want the police to immediately assume my wife is the perpetrator. I’m solving my own murder for them before it happens. See? I told you I was psychic.
Sorry for the language there, but that is exactly what a misophonic person would say. And just to clarify, I do chew with my mouth closed. It’s possible that I have unusually thin cheeks. That’s an excuse I’ve floated out there, but my wife is not buying it.
I imagine that having misophonia is a lot like when you’re watching a TV show and the camera zooms in on a chewing mouth and they up the volume so that it is unbearably loud. Try this video for just ten seconds.
That is likely what your chewing sounds like to a misophonic. So is it your problem, or theirs? That’s the debate. To them you sound like you’re chewing cereal with your mouth open. To you, you can barely hear yourself chew.
This disorder effects one in ten people. Is there a cure? Right now, there isn’t. But there are some therapies that may be helpful. You can learn more at Misophonia.com. Great (sigh) (but don’t sigh too loud of course) there’s help for them, but what about us? What about the husbands of misophonics? We need a support group! We need a place we can feel safe. In fact, I’m going to start a support group for husbands of misophonics. At every meeting I’ll serve potato chips and carrot sticks. We’ll slurp our drinks, chew gum, and exhale at any volume we want! At a group meeting:
Me: Hi everyone. My name is Phil and I’m the husband of a misophonic.
Other husbands: Crunch, crunch, crunch, slurp, chew chew, burp.
Misophonia wives, miles away at home: I can hear you! Stop chewing like that!
If you know a misophonic, that last bit was hilarious. Have a great Saturday and if you know a misophonic feel free to share this with them by hitting the Facebook, or Twitter button below. ~Phil