2012-11-01 / Lifestyles

Sounds like trouble

Lois A. Corcoran

We started the morning with our usual quiet time on the couch. In fact, I’d just drifted off to sleep when Dan the man launched a full 10 minutes of hacking, snorting, and assorted throat clearing sounds.

I waited till the smoke cleared before speaking.

“Must you?” I said.

“Must I what?” he asked.

“Be so noisy!” I replied. To drive home my point, I aped his hacking, snorting and throat clearing sounds and raised him a few. This had little effect other than to amuse him, however.

Maybe it’s me. Recently, I read an article claiming that most introverts detest noise. Well, guilty as charged. That also explains why I loathe vacuuming. Our Hoover sounds like a jet taking off. I’m surprised I’m not frisked beforehand.

Perhaps I suffer from misophonia, a fancy word that means “hatred of sound”. Plenty of people have this affliction, which is also known as Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome. In worst case scenarios, certain noises can induce rage.

These are not necessarily loud noises either. We’re talking about relatively soft sounds like typing on a keyboard, faucets dripping, and high heels clicking on a bare floor, to name a few.

Some sounds that drive sufferers to distraction take place during mealtimes.

One gal said she goes berserk listening to her younger brother eat cereal. She described how the metal spoon hits the ceramic bowl a few thousand times in his determined effort to get “every single last molecule” of food out.

Others cringe at the never ending clink of someone stirring her coffee. Each instance drives them closer to a flatware duel.

Misophonia may be more common than we’d expect. There are now support groups, the meetings for which are held as quietly as possible.

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so noise is in the ear of the be-hearer. By way of example, we live close to train tracks, and whistles blow like clockwork around here. While I find the sound comforting, it drives my Better Half bananas.

Likewise, he claims his alarm clock ticks like a bomb about to go off. So he gags it and holds it hostage under the bed every night.

And while I bristle at noise, I nevertheless run my raucous blow dryer each morning. If it leaves me deaf, at least I’ll be spared the daily hack-a-thon.

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