Scans have shown people who find the sounds of chewing or breathing unbearable have a genuine brain abnormality, North East scientists have found.
While many people find hearing people eat off-putting or pen clicking annoying, others who suffer from misophonia report feeling disgust when exposed to the noises.<
Referring to "trigger sounds", people with misophonia can respond with an intense "fight or flight" reaction.
Now researchers at Newcastle University have reported finding a difference in the frontal lobe in misophonia sufferers, suggesting it is a genuine condition where medical opinion in the past has been sceptical.
Writing in the journal Current Biology, they found changes in the brain activity when a trigger sound is experienced.
They also found people with misophonia experienced an increased heart rate and sweated when they were confronted by a trigger sound.
Researchers found a difference in the "emotional control mechanism" that causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds.
Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, said:
Tim Griffiths, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at Newcastle University and UCL, said: