When Niki sits in the underground and the person opposite her chews gum with her mouth open, her pulse quickens within seconds. If the person also starts smacking their lips or even pops a bubble of chewing gum, their aggression increases immeasurably. For people like Niki, however, this is not only unpleasant, but torture. She suffers from misophonia and feels a high sensitivity to certain everyday noises. Every sniff, snore or smack becomes an auditory instrument of torture for Niki, paving a way into her brain via her auditory canal, flipping a switch and causing her emotional world to explode. Ever since she can remember, she has known these feelings, which are difficult to control. “From zero to instant, a rage shoots into me and I become a completely different person,” the 30-year-old says. This not infrequently leads to problems with her family, close friends or partner.
“I hate loud breathing or snoring. And I can hardly stand it when someone picks food remnants out of their teeth with their tongue or talks with their mouth full,” explains Niki, whose list of disturbing noises has grown longer and longer over the years.