Scientists find out reasons regarding irritating sounds

The irritation and rage caused by sounds of eating and breathing are very likely to be far more than simple dislike. Brain scan studies explain why some people become angry by such sounds. The condition is called misophonia – some of the common stimuli could be scraping of teeth and nails being scraped down a blackboard. Olana Tansley-Hancock, 29, from Kent, who developed the condition when she was eight years old. The sounds that trigger misophonia for her include breathing, eating and rustling noises. “I feel there is a threat and get the urge to lash out – it is the fight or flight response,” she says. The scientists in United Kingdom have shown some people brains become hardwired to produce an “excessive” emotional response. Even the rustle of a packet can start a reaction. “I spent a long time avoiding places like the cinema. I would have to move carriages seven or eight times on 30-minute train journeys, and I left a job after three months as I spent more time crying and having panic attacks than working.” Scientists at multiple centres in the UK scanned the brains of 20 misophonic people, including Olana, and 22 people without the condition. They were played a range of noises while they were in the MRI machine, including neutral sounds such as rain and generally unpleasant sounds such as screaming. The results published in the journal, Current Biology, revealed the part of the brain that joins our senses with our emotions — the anterior insular cortex — was overly active in misophonia. And it was wired up and connected to other parts of the brain differently in those with misophonia. Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from Newcastle University, told BBC News the reaction is mostly anger. He said it is not disgust, the dominating emotion is the anger – it looks like a normal response, but then it is going into overdrive. There are no treatments, but Olana has developed coping mechanisms such as using ear plugs. She also knows caffeine and alcohol make the condition worse, “which is rubbish”. “But I have a relatively mild case and am still able to have a job, I know a lot of people who are not able to have that, I feel quite fortunate really,” she said. It is still not clear how common the disorder is, as there is no clear way of diagnosing it and it was only recently discovered. Ultimately, the researchers hope, understanding the difference in the misophonic brain will lead to new treatments. 02

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