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Loud sneezing or making sounds while eating makes me go mad. What to do in such situations without making anyone feel embarrassed?

111 Answers
Last Updated: 03/24/2022 at 12:09am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

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
June 25th, 2020 1:56am
I can see how this can be a confusing time as well as a frustrating one. Especially if you may not know why you are quite sensitive to these sounds. Even so, it can be scary or confusing. But that's okay, people are here for you. There are ways you can help yourself through the time you're having. You're definitely not alone in this, a lot of people have sensory sensitivity. Perhaps trying positive thoughts, taking a few breaths in through your nose out through your mouth or a grounding exercise can be a good help. Another thing you can try is practising self-care as a way of relaxing and distracting yourself. I hope this helps 💕
June 26th, 2020 11:54pm
sound sensitivity is a common thing. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel this annoyance, especially since many people wouldn't understand it. Breathing exercises and coping mechanisms help. Try continuing the 7 Cups journeys to find some. Feeling compulsion can leave you feeling very lonely, and make you feel like you are not understood, which I understand must hurt a lot. It is good to reach out for help. You are not alone feeling this way. If you know the person well enough, you can always explain the situation to them and kindly let them know, and make sure they understand that it is nothing personal to them.
July 23rd, 2020 2:32am
I know the feeling, I’ve been there too. What has worked for me is politely removing myself from the situation so I can finish eating somewhere else. I might say I need to make a phone call and excuse myself so I can finish my food and not hurt anyone’s feelings. Don’t just get up and leave, and don’t feel like you have to go without your food if you are eating too. You can plan ahead so you aren’t sitting near that person while they are eating or while you are eating. Consider reaching out to a boss or teacher to help get your seat moved, and express your concerns about embarrassing the other person if this happens at work or school where you can’t choose your seat.
July 24th, 2020 12:45pm
Try and avoid loud areas or large crowds. Always also try and write down what you do during the day for memory loss. I use to experience great fear of loud noises due to my mind being disassociated with reality. Not only disassosciation but fear aswell. Try and surround yourself with positive people and people who love you to get rid of fear. And keep your mind active and stay positive. Try and get use to living in the reality you are presented with and try do some concentrating activities as this could cause you not to deviate from reality.
November 21st, 2020 1:59pm
This might not be for everyone but I usually say what’s on my mind. Before I do so though, I make a mental process of deciding whether I should say something or not, and if I don’t, I’ll write about it in my journal later to clarify my decision-making and feelings about the situation. Sometimes this process makes it clearer for me how I feel, and sometimes it makes me take different decisions next time. Other times, it makes it easier to make the same decision again since I have formulated my reasoning about it now and feel more secure in my decision-making :)
January 23rd, 2021 9:31pm
This is completely understandable and expected. Feeling irritated by the sounds and noises means that the body is giving the signal that there is a belief inside that needs to be let go of, that prevents the inner peace from happening. Eckhart Tolle suggests to sit with it. Just like during meditation, if a dog barks, if a car speeds up - those are the noises that are outside of our control. Sitting with yourself, observing your own irritability and trying to figure out why this or that noise is irritating - is it the noise itself? is it the memory that the noise brings up? Once the noise is allowed by you to happen, it will be noticeably easier to just accept the existence of the noise.
March 4th, 2021 5:32pm
Generally I find if in a group setting, it is best to speak to someone after the fact, let them know what you noticed, tell them you opinion and allow them to not feel embarrassed by other people being drawn to the situation. If one on one it is best if you just talk to the person about what you noticed and why it is bothering you, and why it may benefit them to change their habit. Once they understand what is happening, they may feel a little embarrassed, but over time they will benefit and be a better person for it
March 13th, 2021 3:33pm
It's natural for certain noises to be extremely irritating for anyone going who has conditions such as Misophonia. Misophonia is a condition in which people have an intense hatred for noises such as chewing, lip-smacking and breathing. An article named Medical News Today found that 81% are triggered by eating sounds, 64.3% are triggered by loud sounds and that 59.5% are annoyed by finger and hand sounds (clicking bones, snapping fingers). Through my own personal experience, I can share tips that helped me manage my emotions towards irritating noises. It's important to stay far away from the stimulus provoking you such as sitting next to people that are eating. Do keep earplugs in handy to block some of the noise of chewing, breathing and swallowing. If these tips do not work for you please focus on your own chewing and keep a good glass of water near you. Dialectical behavioral therapy is an example of a modality used to help manage emotions, teach you inhibition skills, mindfulness skills, assertiveness and diplomacy skills. For further support please communicate with one of our therapists or listeners who will have personal experience or specialize in what you are going through.
April 7th, 2021 7:20pm
So loud sneezing or making sounds while eating make you feel like you're going insane. What can one do about these pet peeves without people feeling embarrassed about themselves? So there's a lot in this question so I'll try to break it down, I hope that's okay for you and more understandable. "Loud sneezing or making sounds while eating makes me 'go mad'." — what does "go mad" mean here? Does it irritate you? What emotion is it? — what about these sounds do you think make you feel that way? Has it always been like that? What do you do without making anyone feel embarrassed? You can't control that fully. Even if you change the way you say it and say it openly and clearly, they may still be embarrassed—but the fact is that you can't control that. You have to allow them to be embarrassed and acknowledge that there's a chance they could be. You can say it as compassionately as you want to—but even then they could still feel embarrassed. Even so, it's a boundary you put essentially by saying what makes you uncomfortable. But, you can't control how they'll feel or respond. You can say it makes you uncomfortable or go crazy—but it's still their choice how they want to act and still their feelings that even THEY can't control.
April 11th, 2021 12:05am
Maybe politely say i have a headache, they should understand, however if they dont, dont feel awkward to confront then, say honestly may you stop because thats my pet peeve, everyone has pet peeves so its nothing to be ashamed of, we need to embrace the fact we all have different thought processes and we think differently, so something so small can actually ruim someones day, they wont feel embarrased as long as your not rude about it, then its fine, just control your emotions and dont get too angry or they might do it on purpose
April 28th, 2021 9:15am
Your reactions might be signs of misophonia, which is a condition when everyday life's noises drive you mad. To people who suffer from misophonia, certain sounds like slurping, chewing, tapping and clicking can elicit intense feelings of rage or panic. Here's some tips to deal with the situation without offending anyone: use earplugs, excuse yourself for a minute and leave the room, distract yourself with some pleasing thoughts. In general, try not to overprotect yourself against sound. The more you protect your hearing, the more fear you invoke about these sounds. Systematically expose yourself to the sounds you hate. If things don't improve, you can talk to a medical professional and seek support.
May 12th, 2021 4:32am
The key is to realize that everyone is different, and to understand and appreciate that. It may be extremely annoying to you, but its important to understand that it may not be something that the other individual can control or has even noticed about themselves. If you are in such a situation, I would take a deep breath and try to take my mind off of the loud sounds and instead channel my energy towards starting a new conversation with the individual, trying to think of something else, or even excusing yourself to go and get refills or go to the bathroom to reorient yourself and take your mind off of the sounds.
May 30th, 2021 5:15pm
I try and keeps my reactions hidden honestly. This is a real challenge for me and I realize the people who are doing it, do not intend to irritate anyone. They are just in the moment and unaware they are loud. I will usually find a way to make a joke about the sneeze, and say “Bless you!” I try to politely leave the room with the loud eating scenario. I also set my work space up so that I’m not next to a co-worker who might like to eat lunch in their work space. Again, politely excusing myself, or remembering an errand I need to suddenly do, helps calm my nerves, and I don’t up saying something I’ll regret later.
July 22nd, 2021 1:01am
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.
October 9th, 2021 1:21pm
Although it doesn't make me mad, i infer from your question that you want to avoid this without causing the culprit to feel how much you dislike this... apart from excusing yourself and leave the table, maybe you can 'realize' (don't want to say 'lie') that you have been diagnosed with a certain rare neurosis that makes you hypersensitive to otherwise normal human sounds that stems from your early childhood. then ask someone next to the sneezer or slurper and ask them to be a bit more quiet. if you do it believably, the slurper will feel that he is not unreasonably noisy while medicalizing your otherwise 'unreasonable peculiarities'.
October 24th, 2021 10:06am
Firstly, it is great that you were able to recognise the trigger that causes your emotions to heighten. There are a few things you could do in this situation; move away from the person who is exhibiting those characteristics, though this is more realistic for those making sounds when they're eating versus loud sneezing. People are often receptive to the sensitivities of other people around them, so gently letting them know that you would prefer if they tried to avoid sneezing loudly or making sounds while eating around you may prove to be the better option, especially if you have a relationship with them. It is important to remember not to put the risk of someone bing embarrassed over your discomfort, especially when it is harmful to your mental health.
January 13th, 2022 9:02am
I used to suffer the exact same issue. It can be very tough hearing someone chew loudly, snoring, or other types of noises. We must continue to realize they may not be doing this to simply annoy you. Maybe they don't realize it annoys you or it's simply out of your control. E.g. we can't control snoring. Some people can't control eating with their mouths open due to nasal issues, etc. We each have our own unique annoyances. We have to learn to accept each other as they come and respect differences. If people are doing it to annoy you and there is proof of that, ask them to politely stop.
January 27th, 2022 1:44am
Most of the time these are things that people either can't control or don't realise that what they are doing can be irritating for some others. If this is something that is really bothering you, the simple thing to do would be to remove yourself from the situation without making a scene. you can always excuse yourself and take a break on the restroom/outside the room,take a breath and just try calming your thoughts. You could be dealing with misophonia, which is a reaction to regular noises. Probably working on a way to tune it out would be best without embarrassing anyone and short of seeing a therapist.
January 28th, 2022 12:31am
I'm sorry that you're experiencing this, but it's sweet to see that you're reaching out for support and to minimize the chance of embarrassing anyone. It may be worth it for you to explore some calming techniques for selective sound sensitivity otherwise (and scientifically) known as misophonia! Individuals with misophonia often report they are triggered by oral sounds. This is not a diagnosis, simply a likening to triggers: by likening and finding ways to help misophonia, you may be able to find some supports for yourself as well! Some recommended ways to feel relief from being frustrated by these noises are listening to music in the background to lessen the intensity of the noise. Best of luck!
February 25th, 2022 3:59am
My biggest recommendation would be to get a pair of noise cancelling headphones and to make sure you communicate to those around you about the sounds that make you uncomfortable. If needed, in situations where there are eating sounds, you could also ask to step away for a moment. I think communication is key in these situations! To make your friends feel less embarrassed about their chewing/sneezing when you do step away, it would probably be helpful to let them know that your discomfort without isn't because you find it weird or gross but because the sound is unpleasant to you. I hope this helps!
March 24th, 2022 12:09am
There are people like you who cannot stand certain noises. I have a few cringing noises myself actually. If it is a person with whom you eat most meals, you might be close enough with that person to ask whether they are aware of the noise they make. You would know if they have an impediment which makes them eat that way. Maybe on-one told them before. If it is a total stranger, don't talk and instead, see if ou can remove yourself from the area. If you can say anything, you can also tell them that the noise they make sounds sloppy and apologize. What you have is called "misophonia". Good luck!
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