1. Binne

    There are a lot of us who are extremely sensitive to noises that are considered, by most people, to be inoffensive. We suffer from a condition called ‘misophonia,’ or ‘selective sound sensitivity syndrome (4S)’ and it seems to be a sensory processing disorder that typically manifests first in the early teenage years.

    Other people’s chewing is only the first on a long and growing list of noises that drive me nuts. It’s a real problem: I’ve lived for many years in one of the noisiest places on Earth, New York City. The only solution I’ve been able to come up with is earplugs, which I recommend very strongly. There are many different kinds to choose from, and it may take some experimentation to find a product that blocks out the offending sounds but allows you to hear what you need to hear.

    The condition is not well known, but it’s as real as peanut allergies, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, and flat feet. There are resources on the web where you can find help, advice, and commiseration. Please believe me when I tell you that this is not a small thing, and that you are not alone!

  2. Vanna Keiler

    Does the company have a policy about eating at one’s desk? If so, maybe it’s time to mention that to the colleague. This may help curb the noisy eating, which is a distraction from the work environment. If not, how about asking if the chewer not eat all his or her meals at his desk, as it is distracting? Regardless of ear sensitivity, crunchy cereal does tend to be louder than eating any other food, and it is an understandable work distraction if done ALL DAY LONG.

    We all have to get along with one another in the work environment, and this includes respecting noise levels, each other’s work space and help each other create an area where maximum performance can be achieved. Ongoing distractions will not help anyone who goes to work, to work.

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