I will start with a personal anecdote to help you understand where I am coming from.
I was in labor with my daughter for 26 hours. While that is an incredibly long time for anyone to go through waves of pain, I understand it can be a long time for bystanders as well.
Naturally during that time, one is bound to get hungry. That's why I packed a bag of snacks for my husband to eat while we waited for our daughter to make her way out. What I didn't count on was the incredibly loud noises he made while he was indulging in the snacks I couldn't eat because I was bringing a human into the world.
I remember the feelings of frustration, anger and the need to wring his neck for chewing louder than a dump truck backing into a brick building. Not only did it make my blood boil, but it was very distracting for the task that I had in front of me.
Ever since that experience, I can't help but hone in when someone is devouring a crunchy treat or making a slobbery mess when they eat a bowl of cereal.
Quickly loud chewing has topped my chart of biggest pet peeve and the sound of someone eating just makes my skin crawl.
Well it turns out, I am not alone. In fact, I may actually be a genius.
If you have had the strong desire to confront someone for slurping their soup in a restaurant or chewing their popcorn so loudly it feels like it's in surround sound, there may be a biological reason why.
Misophonia is a disorder that means sufferers have a hatred to sounds such as eating, chewing and loud breathing.
According to a recent study out of Northwestern University, highly creative people are often physically unable to drown out annoying background noises, including loud chewing.
Participants of the study were asked to provide as many answers as they could to unlikely scenarios in a limited amount of time. Their answers ended up revealing a strong link between those who were considered creative and those who were sensitive to background noise.
The propensity to filter out 'irrelevant' sensory information....happens early and involuntarily in brain processing," the lead author of the study Darya L. Zabelina explained. "[It] may help people integrate ideas that are outside the focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world."
So if you're wondering why I have headphones in while I'm trying to get work done, you now know.