Have you ever been irritated by the sound of someone chewing with their mouth open? Has the sound of someone repeatedly tapping their pen on the desk during class made you want to get up and shake them? Well the fact is, this might be completely normal. However, there is an auditory disorder that causes patients to be so irritated by the sound that they will experience unbearable physical symptoms of anxiety.
This is a sound sensitivity disorder that is rare and unfortunately still very unknown. The cause of this disorder vexes psychologists and neurologists to this day. The argument about whether the problem is primarily neuro, psych, or a combination of many things remains up in the air. Because of how little we know about the disorder, it is very rarely diagnosed in a patient and typically only when someone in their environment happens to recognize the symptoms.
The sounds which the patients are sensitive to vary greatly. One person might be thrown into a rage specifically by the sound of someone sniffling their nose, whereas another patient might be intolerable of almost every sound possible. Patients that experience more severe symptoms are typically found wearing ear plugs to avoid the effects of the anxiety. However, this treatment typically serves as a detriment to the patient because when they remove the ear plugs they are found to be more sensitive than they were before the introduction of ear plugs at all. Long term treatments where the patient is trained to associate the sounds that bother them with more pleasant things can last 6-18 months and have varied in results.