Many people hate the sound of someone chewing loudly and find it extremely off-putting when trying to enjoy a nice meal. Yet for Derrol Murphy, 41, this has been a life changing condition which for many years has made him feel he was going crazy.
Misophonia is a mental disorder which causes certain sounds to trigger emotional distress, making the person feel the need to flee the situation.
Derrol, from San Diego, suffers an intense case of the condition which has meant his social life has suffered. It has meant no contact with relatives as the thought of them making certain noises is an excruciating thought.
According to the Misophonia Institute, misophonia affects approximately 1,500 people (0.07 per cent) in the US. This could figure could be much higher, but many cases go undetected.
Discussing the condition, Derrol said: “I thought I was crazy for many years. Little noises would just make me fly into a rage.
“People don’t understand it and I can’t explain it. It’s affected relationships, especially people I’ve been dating and family members, because you take it out on the people closest to you because you think they should understand.
“I’m not an aggressive person, noises just anger me. I’ve had to walk out on dates if they are chewing really loudly, my face gives it away – I pull a look of disgust I can’t hide.
“Chewing is a big one and specific voices. I hear everything all the time. One noise can stick out and if I’m in a restaurant, I hear one person’s voice and then I hear the cutlery, it makes me go crazy.
“The rustling of plastic bags drives me absolutely crazy, and I haven’t been to the movies for more than 10 years because people opening food bags is a very bad trigger.
“It’s definitely made dating interesting, and I haven’t been able to speak to relatives for years as the throat clearing would make situations tense.”
It wasn’t until Derrol turned 30 that his condition was diagnosed. After feeling particularly frustrated by the issue, Derrol decided to google his symptoms and finally discovered he was not alone.
Since his diagnosis, Derrol has learnt some techniques that have helped make his life living with misophonia a little bit easier, such as distracting himself by listening to the TV or music.
However, for three hours of the day Derrol still has to wear headphones to reduce the agitation associated with the condition .
Derrol has now decided to speak out to help raise awareness of the condition and let others suffering know that they are not alone.