I've seen a few articles and mentions in the last couple of years of a condition newly identified as "misophonia", and I think I nearly wept when I read some tales and accounts of it because it's something that has basically destroyed every important relationship in my life. It's hard to describe it but it's basically an instant physical/panic/rage response to specific, not necessarily loud, sounds. Some of the first triggers for me as a child were the sounds of chewing and snoring, which eventually grew to include the sound of others typing, and especially the tinny highs and muffled lows of a television or radio playing in another room. Hearing loud bass through a wall is probably the one thing that will have me abandoning my work to hide in a bathroom sobbing and wanting to kill myself. Exposure therapy isn't something I would ever consider; the stress of merely being around a trigger is enough to make me take a midnight walk in winter, and I'm pretty sure the only known cure is a bullet in the skull.
There are very few people who I've been able to explain this to without breaking down in tears or being told to just "tune it out", as often the reaction when you politely ask someone to stop something is for them to do it on purpose. Some of the physical reactions are nausea, tightening of the chest, sweating, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, dizziness, and being completely incapable of focusing on mental tasks. Generally if I ask someone to help me out by lowering the volume on their headset because I can hear the music coming from their earbuds or some other nonsense I'm looked at like I'm a completely overbearing lunatic, but what noone seems to realize how much I have to struggle with this and how my first option is always to leave the room and find a quiet workspace somewhere else, be it in a frozen stairwell or at home. This looks pretty bad to teachers and classmates when you're trying to pass a course or dependent on classroom equipment to finish a project, and has resulted in some failing grades. I'm actually proud of myself for passing just for the fact that not only did I tolerate triggers on a daily basis, but also survived the social stigma of seeming antisocial, seeming to dislike people (which is never the case; I simply have no option but to escape triggering sounds and I generally try not to do it in a way that looks like "storming out"), or seeming like I'm just gonna take off as soon as the bell rings because I like to dick off.
What I wish people would understand about this is that it's not something that's easy to endure, and it's definitely not something anyone chooses. If I could be deaf, I feel like I'd be a happy and healthy person, and that's saying a lot since I derive so much meaning and fulfilment from music. The last thing I've ever wanted is to impose on someone by asking them to turn the TV down, turn the music down, and generally I'm only doing this because it's at a volume where I can't even drown it out with my own headphones on; still I come off as imposing. Noone understands the isolation or the humiliation in living with this disorder, and if maybe one person reading this hears this and maybe stops making a joke out of taunting that one girl who is bothered by gum chewing by smacking right behind her, then maybe I've saved one person from choosing that rapturous bullet to the head.
I realize this is pretty off-topic and out of the blue but I've been struggling a lot lately; it's pretty much the main source of my depression and insomnia and linked to every suicidal fantasy I've had, and I thought I'd share it here. If anyone's looking for more resources and forums where you can read the experiences of others, there's a lot more online about misophonia than there used to be. Most importantly for those who don't suffer, please understand that it's a hugely debilitating condition that nobody wants, and if enough people network and find support then maybe there will be hope for respite for those living with it; quiet housing, options for quiet workspaces, better quality sound conditioners and earplugs, and better treatment for tinnitus and other sensory processing disorders. If you are suffering with this then hang in there. I know how hard it is.