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Severe reactions to hearing someone chewing gum. Get twitches and shakes. How do I control this?

I have severe reactions to hearing someone chewing gum, I realize it is ridiculous. At work I can not get out of the room, and after a few minutes I get uncontrollable twitches and shakes, after about ten minutes or so I struggle to not cry but I will start tearing up. I start clenching my teeth and have even picked up digging my fingernails into my hands and arms to stop my self from crying. I have tried deep breathing and listening to music with little affect. What else can I do?
Asked On : Sun, 10 Jun 2012
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Psychiatrist 's  Response
Thanks for writing in.

You might be having a condition known as misophonia. Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound", is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft. The term was coined by American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff and is often used interchangeably with the term selective sound sensitivity.

Please consult a psychiatrist for treatment. The following are being used to help treat (not cure) misophonia:

Tinnitus retraining therapy has been tried using bilateral sound generators and directive counseling
Earplugs are often prescribed to help block out intruding sounds
Cognitive therapy
Desensitization therapies including adversive exposure therapy, sensory integration auditory programs, and many others
Counseling therapies
Rotating cycles of pleasant sound therapy paired with unpleasant sounds

Hope this helps

Answered: Fri, 25 Oct 2013
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