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October 20, 2015

Loud chewing drive you crazy? You're the one with the problem

The condition, misophonia, may affect up to 20 percent of the population

We've all been there: You're trying to focus on a looming deadline, but all you can concentrate on is the maddening munching from a few feet away.

Yes, it's bothersome. But for some people, audible eating goes beyond annoyance to a real-life condition called misophonia.

According to an article published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, misophonia is thought to affect up to 20 percent of the population.

There's even debate among physicians on whether this extreme disdain for specific noises - most commonly chewing - should be labeled a psychiatric disorder.

But here's the biggest news of all: The chewer isn't the culprit, it’s the person who is cringing who needs to cope and change.

"If others accommodate you by changing the way they eat, they are only enabling you," Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Bernstein writes.

There is hope: A form of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention is shown to be effective for misophonia sufferers. If all else fails, leave the room.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.

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