Most of us find hearing other people chomping and slurping rude and annoying, but to some, the sound of other people eating, coughing or even breathing can be enraging.
Here's the strange case of misophonia (lit. "hatred of sound"):
For people with a condition that some scientists call misophonia, mealtime can be torture. The sounds of other people eating — chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling — can send them into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage.
Or as Adah Siganoff put it, “rage, panic, fear, terror and anger, all mixed together.”
“The reaction is irrational,” said Ms. Siganoff, 52, of Alpine, Calif. “It is typical fight or flight” — so pronounced that she no longer eats with her husband.
Many people can be driven to distraction by certain small sounds that do not seem to bother others — gum chewing, footsteps, humming. But sufferers of misophonia, a newly recognized condition that remains little studied and poorly understood, take the problem to a higher level.
Joyce Cohen wrote this interesting article on The New York Times (just don't read it aloud, mmkay?): Link