Imagine being 13-years-old and the sound of gum throws you into a rage. That's what happened to a young girl named Jessie. Marcie Fraser has more on the condition known as “misophonia.”
Misophonia, the hatred of sounds, causes the extreme fight or flight response seen in war vets and it's uncontrollable.
"I will yell and swear and freak out, sometimes I can get physical," said Jessie Babcock, a misophonia patient.
"Not all sounds are bothersome but gum chewing, swallowing, lip smacking together, it is visual as well as auditory,” said Dr. Erin Walborn, an audiologist.
It began after her father passed away two years ago. It’s gotten so bad she isolates herself during meals.
"It has gotten to where I call them all out brawls and she had tantrums, she can't control it, screaming and yelling, she's thrown things," said Kristina Babcock, Jessie’s mother.
She often wears a headset to block out noises, she sometimes accosts strangers.
'It's embarrassing for the family but I also know she has an illness she can't control and people don't understand because she looks so normal, she functions normal," said Kristina.
The cause is unknown, but some experts think the brain somehow is tricked into believing certain noises signal true danger. The symptoms appear during adolescence, and with little known about the disorder finding a professional who can help can be difficult.
Cognitive therapy may be useful, as well as a vented hearing device from an audiologist. For those who suffer from visual cues…
"Wear sunglasses and use white noise in the background and you can take out the visual and that is going to evoke that anger as well," said Dr. Walborn.
Jessie still struggles on a daily basis, but after nearly failing school last year, she changed to a new school that had a no gum chewing policy she passed with honors.