Loud sneezing or making sounds while eating makes me go mad. What to do in such situations without making anyone feel embarrassed?
Last Updated: 03/24/2022 at 12:09am
Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.
Top Rated Answers
Headphones can be a possible solution, if the company you are with makes sounds, politely ask them to stop.
Nothing first of all dont think about people just concentrate on your work amd do it properly and too much
You should just kindly ask them to use their sleeve/arm when sneezing or chew with their mouth closed.
With regards to loud sneezing, it's not something that the person doing it can really control, since a sneeze comes very quickly. Regarding eating sounds, music definitely helps drown out the sound. Also, if you're at a busy restaurant, then you're also in luck, because the sound of other people talking drowns out the sound of eating. Other than that, the best thing to do is to kindly ask the person to slow down with his/her eating.
You can find ways to take yourself away from the situation if you feel uncomfortable. You won't seem annoying or strange, it's fine to be annoyed too. Remember that if you have an issue you can always be confident knowing other people have probably had issues with stranger things.
Just be polite and kind when you address the issue. Also, you could do so in private so that they don't feel embarrassed about it.
You excuse yourself in the politest possible manner and or pretend to get a very important phone call, either way walk away from the situation as possible. If however you can’t, try to drown the sounds by some conversation by those around you. Other then that, I would say there’s not much you can do. If worst comes to worse, you could always try to avoid that person altogether but that might be challenging, especially if they suspect that you are mad at them. In that case, you’d just have to approach them and say hey, you sneeze too loud or you chew too loud and it’ll just make things awkward and embarrassing.
If an issue like this is seriously bothering you, sometimes the best thing to do is to take yourself away from the situation for a moment to calm your mind. Head to the bathroom, outside, or somewhere away from the situation to allow yourself to calm down. This can allow you to come back with more tolerance for the noise, or it may have stopped by the time you return. Pointing it out in front of everyone may embarrass them, however if it is someone you feel comfortable with you may be able to discuss the issue with them in private so they can be more sympathetic towards your concern
I am a firm believer in meditation and inner focus. I know it sounds weird, but actually focusing on the sounds to give it presence actually can make you lose thought of it. Then bringing yourself inward to yourself and focusing on your breath and thinking of what you want to hear and let those feelings of anxiety and hate toward those people or sounds dissipate. Practicing this prior to these situations would be better to get a little better understanding of what I am talking about. So, you could sit in a room with the TV on or something that isn't very pleasant and try to address the situation.
While I am eating or drinking or in general enjoying time with my family or my friends I tend to have already seen and indeed heard their sometimes flavoursome smells and sounds, so I ignore them and take dining with them as it comes, I would never embarrass a friend or family member about this but would so much make a joke of it. Why you would ask a question like this is so embarrassing to you :( and how could anyone answer a question like this in 100 words when it could just be answered in 2?
You could excuse yourself from that situation. Ask them politely if they would br able to do it a little quieter. Taking a moment to breathe or stepping out to calm down would be a great idea ! You could listen to music and put in some headphones so that you can’t hear it anymore. I understand it can be very frustrating to deal with this ! Without making them embarrassed you could tell them that it is making you slightly uncomfortable and maybe they would try their best to stop doing what is making you uncomfortable for your sake and theirs !
When anxiety over takes me, tiny sounds like that make me upset too but i try to ground myself,by counting from 1 to 100 or just naming everything green or red i can see to distract myself. Sometimes i try to walk away and I've heard of people using fidget cubes. I've also tried using a rubberband around my wrist and every time i feel frustrated i play with the rubberband. Its good to remind yourself to be grounded and aware of where you are.Remember to always bring earphones so when the noises get too overwhelming you have something to block it out.
Sometime is useful if you pull somebody aside if they were bothering them after the fact. A large amount of their embarrassment would likely come from being called out in front of others. It’s also likely that if you stress how much the loud sounds bother you, they will stop if they really are concerned about you. If it isn’t really something you want to mention to one person in general, you could always just mention it as a ‘by the way’ thing before you go out with friends or anyone else if you know it’s likely you’ll be eating food. If you do that, it’s more unlikely you would have to experience those sounds in the first place.
My brother and I have the same problem with the eating sounds. We use the radio or tv when eating so the sounds aren't as loud and you're distracted by the tv or radio so it's harder to notice other sounds. Plus, music also is a nice touch when eating. It makes the situation for almost everyone nicer. If this isn't an option you can politely ask the person who's creating these sounds to try and be a little less noisy. This might trigger them so i wouldn't recommend it unless there's no other option. I hope this answers your question. With kind regards, Mark H.
You are not alone in this. There are other people who also feel disturbed by sounds like what you are describing. One possible thing you can try is to simply get something to put in your ears if you know for example that you are going to eat with other people. If this problem occurs everywhere you can go to an audiologist who can give you things you can wear in your ears permanently. Or for a cheaper option you can go to a pharmacy and find simple earplugs to wear in the situations where you need them. Or you could simply try something like cotton wool. In our house it's a problem too and one of the things we do to help with it is to play music during meals. You can try that as well.
If possible, try to excuse yourself for a moment. The volume of a sneeze is something most people are unable to control. Besides, sneezing is a natural way of expelling unnecessary air and dirt particles from the body. There’s nothing wrong with it. Loud eating is more a reasonable pet peeve. But again, some people chew louder than others. They may not be trying to, that’s just how it is. Try to focus on your own eating. Don’t worry about how anyone else eats. Just try to tune them out the best you can. It’s better to save them from embarrassment.
I understand how you feel. I would suggest going outside for walk or count to 10 slowly. You can also ask for them to be quieter politely and politely. Such as "excuse me, but can you please [thing that is making you frustrated] quieter?" if they don't listen, you can always move seats or areas. There are many things online that can help calm you down in situations where you feeling uncomfortable due to people surrounding you. I have a similar experience when i get really agitated when people make repetitive noises, i have learned to calm myself down by using a technique called "3-3-3", although it is a technique to calm anxiety, i find it easily as effective when calming myself down in any situation. I would suggest googling further into ways to calm yourself down, or talk to someone who has more professional advice about this topic.
This very same thing has happened to me in my life. One thing that I've found to help is if I concentrate on what I'm doing instead of the other person. I'll give a few examples. If I am in a lecture hall and someone is coughing or sneezing, I will try to focus my attention on the lecturer and do my best to tune out the other unwanted noises. If I am at the dinner table and somebody is chewing loudly I will start a conversation about something unrelated. Perhaps some techniques (I call it thinking on your feet) like those would help. Also, I think that mindfulness can help you adapt to situations like these. Mindfulness can help with decision-making from a calm, balanced place in these types of situations.
From how this reads, it seems as if you are experiencing social anxiety from triggers stemming from your personal preferences. We all have our idiosyncrasies, and many people enjoy eating in a quiet setting; however, sometimes that is an impossibility with with which we must deal. Have you thought about why you react the way you do to these noises? How do you react when this happens (i.e., what does "makes me go mad" mean?)? Where (location) and how often do you notice loud sounds? Aside from loud sneezing, what other noises cause your feelings? And have you tried anything to help mitigate these feelings (i.e., talking to family / friends - in the moment and/ or after), breathing, focus exercises, etc.)? Sharing meals in a public place is a good activity to meet people and share culture, banter, and anything that fits your fancy. Sneezing, too, is one of those things that happens; there is a "polite" way to sneeze in public, and even then, it may be unpleasant. Without more, it is hard to frame or contextualize the issue. It sounds as if this is a regular occurrence, and unless someone is intentionally sneezing on you or making abnormally loud noises close to you (both of which could be resolved with a conversation), it is a tricky situations could have an underlying cause that is something much larger, so it would be prudent to talk to a certified counselor to help identify root causes, triggers, and coping mechanisms. Continuing this discussion on this level would constitute medical advice.
Sometimes I have the same situation. For example, when I sleep, my roommate is eating, which is really annoying，At that time, I put on my headphones and listen to music. This situation may also be because you hate that person. So it is normal, I think we can find a way to distract ourselves from these sounds. Such as thinking about some other interesting things. Or it will be ok if you tell that person about that politely. Most people will understand it and then pay attention to it. There are some other similar situations, such as people next to or behind shake their legs. And at that time I will talk to that person. I hope this helps some.
First thing is first, please don't make an ugly face towards the person. Sometimes there is no self control on how someone can chew. If you feel that the sound of someone chewing on their food is a bit disturbing, put some headphones on. If there isn't any headphones near by, try distracting yourself with something else around your surrounding. I know personally there was a time where I couldn't fully close my mouth due to a facial Paralysis and I would catch myself chewing loud and opened mouthed. It wasn't something that I wanted to do but it just couldn't be controlled. I am pretty sure there is something about yourself that you know there is nothing you can do to avoid it happening. Why judge someone who experiences the same thing? Just keep going on with your day and let everyone else continue with theirs.
Try to Observe yourself next time when you are in such a situation or try to create it yourself by making sounds if sometime you are eating alone. The sound is making you remember some experience you may not be consciously unaware of. Once you are aware, you will be in a better position to handle it. You can also try to figure out the reason for your reaction by meditating. Take few deep breaths, concentrate on your breathing for couple of minutes. Imagine that someone is sneezing or making loud noises and see the anger bubbling inside. Observe what thoughts are going on in your mind. Hope this helps.
It sounds like it is misophonia :) In those cases, I try to self-sooth, and remind myself that the person making the noises likely doesn't mean to be so loud or be upsetting. That usually helps a bit, but if not, I would either quietly excuse myself from the situation and take some deep breathes, see if there is an opportunity to play some music or the tv in the background while eating, but most importantly, if you have trust in the person who is making the sounds, I believe it is a good idea to communicate how you are feeling, explaining that it's something medical that can be difficult to cope with. Most compassionate people will be understanding and try to eat more quietly. Often just speaking about it helps
Take some time to reflect and ask yourself when was the last time you felt like this outside of a similar situation. Is it really because of the noise or is it something else that caused you to feel mad? And if it is not because of the noise, what happened back then that made you remember about this feeling of you being mad? How do you feel about it and how does it relate to your current situation? Lastly, ask yourself: what do you do now? Would you want to be mad every time someone sneezes loudly or make sounds while eating? If no, how would you like to go about this?
Try to take a deep breath when you come into this type of situation. You may feel angry about it but you need to know that the other person isn't doing this intentionally. Try to set the example and make sure you yourself are finishing your food before speaking. It is possible that that could help the other person realize that what they are doing isn't exactly acceptable in most situations. Lead by example, monkey see monkey do is used in situations such as these. If you get very irritated try leaving the table and taking a step back.
I am bothered by loud noises during eating too and I know that It can be quite frustrating. Unfortunately, we don't have control over what other people do or do not do. If I don't feel comfortable with speaking to the person, I try to distract myself with positive thoughts or remove myself from the situation. If I know the person well, I share with them how I feel and let them know that they are not doing anything wrong and I would appreciate if they are mindful of the way they eat. The sneezing part unfortunate is rarely in anyone's control.
For me, I think its always been farting in public. I have IBS, and its difficult to eat anything without passing gas right away. Its been a life long struggle for me, and a sore spot at dinner parties or in a private or romantic situation. I'm not sure how someone could comment on another person farting without embarrassment, however, nonacusatory comments are always a winner. The best thing to do if someone makes noise while eating or something annoying, In my opinion, is to pull them aside or wait for everyone to leave and then mention the problem in a sensitive way.
It's important to understand your aversions to certain sounds. Some people have difficulty processing sensory information, and in your case it could be a hypersensitivity to auditory stimuli, especially if you're on the autism spectrum. Ask your doctor about this. There are techniques to reduce the impact of this facet of neurodiversity on your daily life. When dealing with situations when you find yourself disturbed by stimuli you can't handle, respectfully state it or try to remove yourself. Remember, respecting other people yet asserting your needs is the way to go. Most people will understand if you do have a sensory processing impairment. Wearing sound-blocking headphones can be a solution. Stay strong!
I personally struggle with this as well, and it can be really hard to advocate for yourself that you are uncomfortable. It makes you feel guilty, because you don't want anyone to feel bad because of it. Here is a small list of things that help me when someone is eating too loudly. 1. Have a show or music on during meals. 2. Wear headphones or earbuds. 3. Sit further away from the person who is eating loudly. 4. Politely ask them if they can chew quieter, and explain that you may be more sensitive to those sounds. It can be hard to do it kindly, but advocating for yourself is extremely important. Its a big thing to ask for that out of others, but it is worth it to advocate for yourself that way.
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