It’s a disorder known as misophonia, where sounds like chewing, sniffing and pen clicking can cause intense emotional reactions – and sometimes even physical reactions, such as an elevated heart rate and spike in blood pressure.
As it turns out, this condition is more common than many realise, as our recent study showed. We estimate that nearly one in five adults in the UK may have misophonia.
To conduct our study, a survey was completed by 772 people, who were selected to create a sample that represented the UK population in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. The survey included a new questionnaire called the S-Five, a tool which helps us measure a person’s likelihood of having misophonia.
The S-Five includes 25 statements, asking how participants react to various sounds and the effect it has on them. For example, the survey included statements such as, “If I cannot avoid certain sounds, I feel helpless” and “My job opportunities are limited because of my reaction to certain noises”.
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