If you are one of those people who can not abide crunchy, noisy eaters, just a quick question: How were your grades in school? Time reports today that the condition known as “misophonia—extreme sensitivity to the sound of people chewing, coughing or eating—affects learning.” A study in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology found that “people who said they were sensitive to these sounds had a harder time mastering and retaining information when they could hear a person chewing gum, suggesting that misophonia has an impact on academic performance.”
The study had 72 students take a short quiz, alongside some cretin-type person loudly chewing gum. The misophonic people did worse on the test, suggesting that they were more affected by the noise distraction: “Sound-sensitive students who were in the gum-chewing group did slightly worse on the quiz than those who weren’t affected by misophonia.”
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which loudly smacking gum or noisily crunching chips wouldn’t be annoying and distracting, but some people are more sensory sensitive than other people. Fortunately, the researchers suggest a quick solution for misophonic test-takers: ear plugs.