Humans have quite a knack for being strangely annoying without really doing very much, but when you have to factor in loud eating noises, things soon escalate from someone being mildly irritating to you wanting to punch them in the face.

But you might feel a little better to know that it's a genuine condition called Misophonia, which translates as 'hatred of sound'.

It doesn't mean that you hate all sounds, of course, just that there are certain noises that will seriously grate on you - such as sloppy eaters, but also things like heavy breathing, soup slurping, someone repeatedly clearing their throat, the incessant clicking of a pen or your mate's absolute howl of a laugh.

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According to researchers at Newcastle University, it's a genuine brain abnormality. Scientists scanned the brains of 42 people in the UK - with 20 suffering from Misophonia and 22 without the condition - to find out why it occurs.

While in a MRI Scanner, people were played a range of noises such as rain, unpleasant sounds like screaming and people's trigger sounds.

Publishing the findings in the journal Current Biology, it was revealed that the the anterior insular - part of the brain that joins our senses with our emotions - was overly active in Misophonia.

Wills doesn't look best pleased. Credit: PA
Wills doesn't look best pleased. Credit: PA

"They are going into overdrive when they hear these sounds, but the activity was specific to the trigger sounds not the other two sounds," Dr Sukhbinder Kumar from Newcastle University said.

"The reaction is anger mostly, it's not disgust. The dominating emotion is the anger - it looks like a normal response, but then it is going into overdrive."

Olana Tansley-Hancock, who has suffered from the condition since she was eight years old, struggles with sounds like breathing and eating, according to the BBC.

"I feel there's a threat and get the urge to lash out - it's the fight or flight response," she said. "Anyone eating crisps is always going to set me off, the rustle of the packet is enough to start a reaction.

"It's not a general annoyance, it's an immediate 'Oh my God, what is that sound?' I need to get away from it or stop it'."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Olana even had to stop going to the cinema because of all the popcorn chewing and the level of annoying voices that come from the back row.

She told BBC News: "I spent a long time avoiding places like the cinema. I'd 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."

Well, good to know that there's actually some science behind it, and that it's not a case of us just being aggy AF.

Featured Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/E!

Rachel Pugh

Rachel Pugh is a Junior Social Editor at PRETTY52. She previously worked as the Overnight TV & Showbiz editor for OK! Online. She started her journalism career in 2014, where she worked on the video desk for the Daily Star and Daily Express. Since then she has worked as a publisher, journalist, copywriter and social media manager on a variety of websites, with subject matters ranging from menswear to pop culture. Contact her – rachel.pugh@pretty52.com

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