Kristen - Singing Talent Navigates Sound Sensitivities

S1 E5 - 12/11/2019
This episode features a conversation with Kristen, a nanny and former bartender and makeup artist from Florida. Kristen discusses her lifelong experience with misophonia, tracing the origin of her sensitivities back to negative associations with a family friend's gum chewing. She shares the challenges of navigating social situations, work environments, especially in noisy areas and offices, and the impact on her relationships. Kristen also talks about her coping mechanisms, which include humor, avoidance of certain situations like going to the movies, and the use of white noise or ASMR to mask trigger sounds. Uniquely, despite her hatred for certain sounds, Kristen is a talented singer and has explored a career in the music industry, highlighting the complex relationship she has with sound. The conversation also touches on the problem of explaining misophonia to others, including the lack of understanding from professionals like psychologists and audiologists, making self-care and explanation to close contacts essential strategies for her.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode 5. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Kristen, who's living in Florida, actually not too far from a place called Mar-a-Lago. This is a really fun conversation, despite being about our hatred of certain sounds. Kristen's a really talented singer and so we talk about some experiences she's had in professional recording studios. We talk about some other unusual things like how she sometimes uses ASMR to go to sleep. Talk about relationships and her miso origin story which is actually not about her family. Now for all the new folks who are listening, that noise you're hearing in the background is brown noise that I've added to help mask certain trigger sounds. I edit the show to take out any obvious triggers and also do some EQing, but that brown noise is added to kind of just help add some background if your environment is noisy. If you want to support the podcast, there is a bunch of swag I've got on our website at There's shirts, backpacks, mugs, socks, even an embroidered apron if you're planning to do some cooking over the holidays. 100% of the proceeds go to help produce the show and to reach more Missiphones and also to support research for Missiphonia. All right, enough of that. Let's get started with my conversation with Kristen. So welcome, Kristen. Glad to have you here.

Kristen [1:30]: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Adeel [1:33]: So yeah, tell me a little bit about you. I usually kind of like to ask where you're located and yeah, let's start with that.

Kristen [1:41]: I'm in Florida right now. I'm from Ohio, but I currently live in a much better state in Florida.

Adeel [1:47]: Okay, cool, cool. And so are you working? You're a student?

Kristen [1:52]: No, I'm not a student. I want to go back to school, but I am working right now. I'm a nanny.

Adeel [1:58]: Okay, great. Oh, interesting. So you kind of, I work from home and I kind of love working from home. So I'm guessing that, I guess that has pros and cons.

Kristen [2:07]: Yeah, it's not too bad right now. It's actually just for my new niece. So it's for a year and I love everything about it, but I am kind of missing getting back into, you know, the regular world again.

Adeel [2:18]: Were you ever like in an office environment?

Kristen [2:20]: I was not. I used to be a makeup artist, and I also was bartending in really high-end restaurants for very rich people for a long time.

Adeel [2:29]: Oh, wow. In Florida or in Ohio?

Kristen [2:31]: Yep, in Florida, actually, right down the street from Mar-a-Lago.

Adeel [2:35]: Gotcha. Yeah, I was going to say, when I asked that, I was like, Florida versus Ohio for rich people, I would imagine. You were probably doing that in Florida.

Kristen [2:42]: Yes.

Adeel [2:44]: So how long have you had misophonia, then? Curious.

Kristen [2:48]: Um, I had it before there was a name to it. I remember I remember being maybe like nine years old and being really irritated with all of that. So I want to say it started around then. I definitely didn't. Yeah, I definitely have it like almost as far as back as I can remember eating dinner with my family.

Adeel [3:09]: So, yeah, I was going to ask, who were your first triggers? And like like a lot of people, you're you're it's probably you're your parents are on the dinner table.

Kristen [3:17]: Actually, I kind of know exactly why it started. It wasn't my parents. My parents, they actually have really good manners when they eat. It was a family friend, kind of, that I really didn't like at all. I thought he was a really mean person. And when he would yell, he would be chewing gum at the same time. He always had gum. So I think I kind of associated these like negative feelings with gum chewing. And so then everything kind of bothered me after that. So when I had dinner with my family, you know, they all had manners, but you slip up every once in a while. And when they slipped up, then it started to really bother me.

Adeel [3:54]: Got it. And so that other family member that was around nine years old, that's the person that kind of first triggered you around that age?

Kristen [4:03]: Yeah. It was actually a friend's parent, but it was my really close friend. So it was like family, but I just didn't like him and I thought he was a bad person. So, yeah.

Adeel [4:12]: Did it affect how you kind of hung out with your friend then? I'm curious how you handled it at that age because it's fairly young.

Kristen [4:18]: I... Not really so much. I mean, I would try and go over her house when he wasn't there, but that wasn't so much because of the gum. It was just because I just didn't like him, period.

Adeel [4:30]: Got it. Yeah. I mean, yelling at kids is, or yelling in general at that, around kids that age is a little bit disturbing anyways. So you just associate with him, this is a mean person and... I'm kind of annoyed by the mean person and the sound he makes.

Kristen [4:46]: I didn't really realize this until a few years ago. It kind of made me realize that he was the cause of it. But I think so whenever he would be flipping out, I would kind of be thinking how stupid this was and how annoying he was. And I think that's how I associated the sound with annoying. And I didn't realize this until later. I just remember there were times where he would be standing near me and chewing this gum and I wanted to run.

Adeel [5:11]: So he wouldn't even be yelling. It had completely transferred to the sound of chewing gum.

Kristen [5:16]: Yeah, but it was weird because nobody else bothered me chewing gum until, you know, the following years after that. So I know it definitely stemmed from him.

Adeel [5:24]: And then, so it stemmed from him and then it moved on to, I guess, the family setting. That's kind of when you're in an enclosed space. Gotcha.

Kristen [5:32]: Yeah, for sure.

Adeel [5:34]: That makes sense. Do you have any siblings too?

Kristen [5:36]: Yeah, I do. I have a brother who's three years younger than me. okay and did he uh was he a source of any issues um no no yeah yeah my whole family i mean we were we were taught manners you know so everybody chewed with their mouth closed i didn't really have an issue i mean i know he was a kid so you know like i said there were times where he would make mistakes or my parents would slip up but even without me my parents would always make sure just to tell them like or tell him you know chewed your mouth closed have So I didn't really have too many issues with family. But, you know, when they did freak out, I mean, when they did mess up, I couldn't help but kind of freak out. Did you act out?

Adeel [6:14]: Yeah.

Kristen [6:15]: No, I was a good kid. I would just get really frustrated, you know, and I would just keep reminding, like, chew with your mouth closed. Please chew with your mouth closed. Stop making that noise. You know, and they didn't really understand, especially because it wasn't a thing. And it wasn't a thing back then, you know, and I was brand new to it. So they would just kind of be like, just ignore it, just ignore it. And they couldn't understand that I couldn't ignore it.

Adeel [6:37]: Did it affect your school or anything? Because you were obviously in school around that time.

Kristen [6:43]: No, not in grade school. In high school, yeah, but not in grade school.

Adeel [6:48]: So in high school, like in class or like in exams? I guess I've heard a lot that, yeah, in big exam environments, it could be a problem.

Kristen [6:56]: Yeah. I mean, in grade school, kids weren't eating in classrooms, you know, in high school, the girls would have gum. I went to an all girls school. They would have gum, you know, or like during lunch when we would sit around and I don't know, I just, I never noticed people eating when they were, when we were at lunch, when we were younger, but during high school years, if people were chewing, you know, a certain way, I'd leave the table or go sit with different friends or something like that.

Adeel [7:19]: Yeah. I mean, this thing definitely seems to kick in a lot during middle school. So I would imagine that once it's in the kind of it's in its full form by the time you're in high school. Oh, yeah. More than for sure. And so when did you when did you when did you realize I had a name? I think you said maybe a few years ago or so.

Kristen [7:41]: Yeah. A few years ago. I can't remember if I found it or if someone sent me something, but I know for like the past six or seven years, maybe five or six years, there's been articles going around saying, you know, if you hate chewing, you have misophonia. And I would get sent that by 400 people a day. So it was probably something like that. I just, I can't remember if I found it or if someone sent it to me or if I just came across it somewhere, you know, but yeah, it was definitely the last few years.

Adeel [8:13]: Yeah, I think a lot of us have seen those articles with somebody holding their ears, some stock photo and stuff.

Kristen [8:19]: Exactly.

Adeel [8:21]: And so a lot of people sent it to you. So I'd imagine at some point between high school and now, somehow all your friends know. It's been a recurring, a common thing for you.

Kristen [8:35]: Yeah, I would say not all, well, all my friends know, but not everyone that I'm around knows because there's this thing that people tend to do when you tell them that you have this problem. They say, does this bother you? And then they start making the noise. And I want to just knock people out when they do that. That bothers me for some reason more than if I were just to catch them chewing with their mouth open. So when I start a new job or something, I don't tell people what it is. I kind of just wait until I'm closer with them or we're in a situation outside of work, hanging out where they've actually become my friend. And I don't tell them. I don't just offer that information up. if they're eating or something, I talk about it. But I kind of see it as I can't fix it, I can't treat it. There's no treatment or cure for it as far as I know. And I'm the type of person that everything is funny to me. There's humor in everything. That's how I cope. So I make fun of myself for it. My friends all make fun of me for it without actually triggering me. So I kind of just, I laugh about it and I tease myself about it in front of my friends and everything, but I make sure that they know You can't do this around me. Or if you do it around me and I walk away from you, don't be surprised. Don't be hurt.

Adeel [9:50]: Yeah, I've also tried to, in recent years, turn to just dowsing stuff in humor to try to... It's not 100% cure, but it... It helps. It's an experiment. Yeah, it's an experiment at least, and it does help in a lot of situations.

Kristen [10:02]: Yeah.

Adeel [10:04]: But yeah, you... Yeah, but then, of course, people take it and think that they can joke about it, and it's not quite the same when other people try to instigate something.

Kristen [10:13]: You can make fun of me for it as long as you don't make that sound. When you make a sound, then we're going to fight.

Adeel [10:17]: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Then you cross the line. It's interesting. I don't know if you went. Did you go to any of the conventions at all?

Kristen [10:24]: No, I didn't even know that was a thing.

Adeel [10:26]: yeah i didn't know until a couple years ago but uh but yeah a lot of us get to i mean it's like a couple hundred of us get together and you know a lot of it is us the sessions where we hear about research and treatments and stuff are are great but it's like all the you know hanging out in the lounges or at the bars or restaurants after where we're actually we're joking with each other about it it's it's um it helps a lot i have to say oh yeah um Speaking of that, do you know anyone else who has it near you?

Kristen [11:00]: No, I don't. I get a lot of people that... Say they're annoyed or something. Yeah, like I told you, all my friends in the past and everyone I grew up with knows about it. I don't really introduce it to new people yet, but I get messages all the time from my friends on Facebook. You know, and they'll say, oh, my gosh, I was at the DMV today and this person was chewing gum and it made me think of you and it drove me crazy. And and a lot of people kind of identify with it. But then I you know, I'm always kind of breaking it down like, well, there's a difference between being irritated by it and going into a full blown panic attack and having a fight or flight response. So I haven't met anybody. that that actually freaks out like that um there's a couple people that will tell me you know well i'm only irritated by it and then every once in a while i have someone else that says no like i'm just like you i freak out but you know i'm not around them to see if it's if it's really true or not

Adeel [11:51]: yeah usually if you know you know yeah that there's a difference um and you almost have to you almost don't even have to like communicate verbally it's just like yeah it's you yeah you just you just kind of know yeah do you have um do you have visual triggers too that go along with it that was a common theme this stuff that recently in the past year is that a lot of visual triggers people are talking about

Kristen [12:14]: Yeah, it actually didn't start until maybe six or seven years ago because I'm 34 now, so I've had it for a long time. But in the past five or six years, I can't take seeing someone chew gum. I don't care if you're 15 rows away from me at a concert or something and I can't hear you. I can't see that jaw movement going because I know I'm going to hear the sound at some point or I think I'm going to hear the sound at some point. Um, I don't have like, I only have certain triggers. I'm really not as bad as I don't have it as bad as some other people do, um, where they're annoyed by a lot of things. I'm only annoyed by a handful of things. I'm annoyed by them horribly, you know, but like it's, it's any sound with the mouth, you know, so anything that has to do with eating gum, um, like sniffling, smacking, and then, um, nail biting bothers me. and then this one's kind of weird but hearing it's a big one for visuals yeah nail biting but yeah yeah that's exactly why i said it um and then hearing music come through the walls like bass or something or hearing a sound in the background that you don't you don't know where it's coming from it bothers me but um but yeah the as far as visuals like the nail biting one is is a big thing for me it drives me crazy too yeah

Adeel [13:28]: scratching the face i mean i guess there's no sound there but uh yeah um you feel like that's it's going to go towards the mouth any second um interesting so people so okay sounds like yeah sounds like you have these people are generally it seems like you have a lot of friends who for one reason or another want to bring it up with you whether it's uh to feel concerned or to feel like they're you know, they're in the know they're observant about things around them too. Or, um, so you, you kind of tell people, um, so did the nanny job kind of come maybe even, I don't know, maybe subconsciously out of like, just being sick of being around a lot of people, because you're working at a bar, you're, I guess you can't really, there's a lot of sounds there I'm imagining.

Kristen [14:11]: Um, yeah.

Adeel [14:12]: Um, I don't know if you kind of evolved towards a, let's just kind of,

Kristen [14:17]: work in a house for a while um no but so when i was bartending um i'm not like i said i'm not annoyed by a whole lot of things so i didn't have any issues when i was bartending in a restaurant that was noisy um i actually liked it the nanny thing was just because i lived three hours away from my brother and i really wanted to be around my niece for a year um so that that's literally the only reason that i'm a nanny now however i did kind of pick up a side job working at a wine store and i do samples a lot and people smack their lips when they do the samples to try and really get that taste and it drives me crazy um but when i was looking for a second job um there are certain things that i i stay away from um so when i'm looking for a second job you know i know i can handle working in a restaurant because if i'm serving you know when i drop the food off i can run away i don't have to stand there and watch them eat um if i was bartending it's it's so loud you know bartending that you don't really hear that kind of thing But I know I can't work in a call center or something because if I get stuck next to a person that has gum, there's nothing I can do. I did do the office thing when I was 19 for two years and I could hear people chewing gum in the other rooms and I would sit there and cry at the front because I couldn't get away from it.

Adeel [15:31]: Was that an open environment at all or was it just... closed offices?

Kristen [15:36]: No, it was, I was the receptionist. And then, you know, once you got out of the lobby, everybody had their own private office. But there was one little section of cubicles where like four or five people sat together and I could hear their gum and their smacking and everything. It was just on the other side of a really thin wall. But, but yeah, so when I, I didn't choose the nanny position because of that. I don't seek out jobs to get away from it. I just know what I can't do. Any place that I'm going to be close to another person without being able to walk around and move. I know it's probably not a good idea.

Adeel [16:08]: So you've been, you grew up in Ohio and now you live in Florida. Do you notice like, I don't know, geographically or culturally any different? I know it's still all in the United States, but like... any differences between midwesterners versus you know florida people in terms of their sounds, like which would be a better state to live in? Sounds like you like Florida right now.

Kristen [16:29]: I love Florida. Yeah, I love how diverse Florida is. But so different cultures. And I can't remember which one, but I know there's an Asian culture, for instance, that smacking your lips is a sign of appreciation for the food. I used to work in a Japanese restaurant and I learned that after I would. And this was actually in Ohio, though. But I learned that when we closed from 3 o'clock to 4 o'clock and our awesome owner made everybody food, I had to bring headphones with me because everyone was smacking their lips and slurping the soup and everything. And I was horrified at first until I did a little research and learned that that's a certain way to show that the food is good or whatever. So that was my experience in Ohio. But down in Florida, it's more diverse. So I feel like I could possibly run into that a little bit more because there's way more cultures, different cultures down here and everything. But I'm really good at not putting myself in those positions, so I don't really run into things that make it too much of a difference in either state.

Adeel [17:32]: So, yeah, okay, so you mentioned headphones. So other than running away, well, let me put it that way. I'll edit this part.

Kristen [17:43]: No, running away works.

Adeel [17:45]: Yeah. OK, yeah. There's really no other way to describe it. But other than running away, what are some other coping mechanisms? So I personally have headphones, but I have three or four different form factors of headphones over the ear. Wired, Bluetooth. what do you go to and your backup?

Kristen [18:05]: Um, I really, that would be the runaway, I guess. Yeah. I really, excuse me. I really don't have a lot, honestly. I mean, it's, it's headphones for sure. Like right now I have on my huge ones that cover my ears. Um, and then I have my, you know, my little iPhone ones or whatever, but I wear the huge ones sometimes even to sleep at night. Cause right now I, so I used to live by myself and right now to nanny, I'm living with my family. Um, and I can hear the music through the walls sometimes at night. So I, you know, I keep my headphones to black those out when I travel or fly. I definitely use these huge headphones to cover my ears. Um, I always have, like, I have a white noise app, you know, cause sometimes I, I love music so much. I sing and everything like literally. Singing is my entire life. But I know, which is really weird, actually. But there's, you know, there's times where I don't want to listen to music. I just want to relax. So I have white noise apps, you know, that I could just put on in the background if I'm flying or something. But other than that, I just I've gotten really good at just removing myself from situations or not putting myself in situations to begin with. I don't go to the movies ever because I can't handle people behind me eating popcorn and I know I can't get away from it.

Adeel [19:14]: you know movies uh it's like yeah i mean simple well concerts i guess are loud but yeah yeah i go to theater or anything like that yeah concerts would be great i mean it's just uh a lot of what a lot of a lot of noise yeah it's just the um conversations at a concert kind of annoying me oh yeah yeah why are you even here but uh right um yeah so there's a white noise apps you use white noise uh so um I'll use like a Spotify playlist or something. I'm just curious, are there any specific apps that you would recommend?

Kristen [19:48]: I download them randomly, honestly, because I have about like 15,000 pictures on my phone right now and I have no space. So I'll download them and then I'll delete them and then I'll forget which ones I download. But a lot of times it's the apps that'll have like thunderstorms or something. And actually, it's because I kind of mentioned it. And now that we're talking about apps, this is really strange. I thought it would be interesting to you. So I sing and, you know, misophonia translates to the hatred of sound. But for a while, my whole career was based off of singing and music and listening and everything. And then also, I actually listen to ASMR sometimes to to help myself fall asleep at night, which is do you know what that is?

Adeel [20:30]: Yeah, that's very, it was like very close up sounds. I haven't listened to it a lot because I'm kind of afraid of what I'll hear, but so it's kind of the, yeah. Okay. Got it. It's basically right. That's what it seemed like. It was like.

Kristen [20:47]: all triggers kind of potentially yeah it's just any and it's which is weird because that it calms me down there's people that eat close to the microphone or they do tapping sounds and they crinkle paper and eating close to the microphone that's the one thing i can't listen to i will break my computer over it but all the tapping stuff and the crinkling that actually puts me to sleep which is really weird considering if somebody was doing it in front of my face i might knock them out

Adeel [21:13]: Right. And so the crinkling could kind of be like a white noise. You think that's what it might be? Or is this something different? Oh, that could be it.

Kristen [21:20]: No, yeah, that could probably be it.

Adeel [21:22]: Potentially. I don't know.

Kristen [21:23]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:24]: Yeah. So I'm going to be putting, so all these shows are going to be putting like some kind of a background sound just to kind of like, you know.

Kristen [21:30]: Yeah.

Adeel [21:31]: just to kind of be unique for a podcast, but also, you know, have some background noise. So I'm probably not going to put crinkling sounds, but you mentioned thunderstorms earlier. So maybe this will be the thunderstorm episode.

Kristen [21:44]: There you go.

Adeel [21:45]: But that's interesting. I never heard ASMR as a treatment. Yeah, that's curious. Yeah, that's interesting. So what kind of capacity were you singing in?

Kristen [21:55]: So I used to just sing for fun. I put up videos on YouTube and they got like 2 million views. And then I was doing karaoke contests and stuff at home and I was winning all this money.

Adeel [22:07]: Whoa, okay. I'm a big karaoke fan. I haven't won anything. I've spent a lot of booze money on it.

Kristen [22:16]: A lot of it went right back to the beer. Don't worry. But I actually got found online by a really popular R&B group from the late 90s. And they flew me down to Atlanta a few times and they put me in the studio with different people to see how I worked. They ended up offering me a small deal to their label, which was a smaller label. I didn't sign it just because there were some terms in there that I wasn't okay with. And I ended up moving to Atlanta and just trying to do things on my own. So, yeah, I was in the studio a lot. I actually got stuck in the studio a few times with people who had gum. That was one of the worst days of my life.

Adeel [22:53]: I've worked in anechoic chambers before, like, yeah, where it's so quiet that you can feel your... vibrations in your body. Yeah. Well, I guess music studios are a little different.

Kristen [23:05]: Yeah. Well, no, I mean, when I'm up there recording, you know, and then I sing a verse and then the producer, whoever has gone, they, when they talk to you, when you're in the booth, they're talking to you through the headphones. You know, so like they're right there in your ear chewing this gum and trying to give you direction. And I remember specifically one day where I didn't I just didn't do my best and I was kind of off. And when we were driving home, their manager said to me, like, are you OK? Something isn't right. And I was like. I am so easy to work with. Everything is go with the flow for me, but I need to ask one thing from you. I cannot have people with gum in the studio and I had to tell her about it. And I was like, because you see what happens. I completely shut down and I, I panic and I had to sit through seven hours of that today. So I really, really need you to change some rules. You know, that's the only thing that I'll ask of you. And she was perfectly fine with it, but it was almost like, like kind of embarrassing. You know what I mean? Like sometimes when I tell people about it, I'll be like, I'm just warning you, I'm crazy. You know what I mean? Like we'll fight or you adjust to this because if I can't get out of this situation, there's going to be a problem.

Adeel [24:07]: Yep. No, I think everyone listening to this understands that. And yeah, it's interesting. Well, you know, I bet in the music industry, they've heard far crazier demands. Yeah, that's true. That's probably the least of them.

Kristen [24:20]: True.

Adeel [24:21]: Do you still have your YouTube videos online? I do.

Kristen [24:26]: I don't make them anymore, but, I mean, I post some things on Instagram here and there, but, yeah, the YouTube videos are still up there.

Adeel [24:32]: Well, maybe in the show notes after, well, I can add some links to them.

Kristen [24:35]: Sure.

Adeel [24:36]: If you don't mind people checking. Because I'm sure we, you know, we love, Miss Funnier people would love to hear what we're all doing, so.

Kristen [24:44]: Oh, yeah, of course.

Adeel [24:45]: Yeah. So, well, holidays are coming up. I don't know when this is going to air because there's so many people that want to do interviews. Do you have any like tips? Are you going to be seeing your family? Do you have like escape routes and various hiding spots where you're holding headphones and whatnot like I do?

Kristen [25:03]: Pretty much yes to all the above. Yeah. Well, no, right now. So down here in Florida, I only have, you know, five or six family members. But so I moved to Atlanta in 2013, but I spent, you know, 25 years in Cleveland before that. And that's when I would go to all my family parties and our parties had like 60, 70 people at them. yeah and um everybody in my family knows how i am so if i was in a really irritated mood i would go sit in the other room by myself and that was fine they were all fine with it they knew i wasn't mad or anything like that um or i was you know when it was a day where we did have like a lot of extra people like boyfriends or girlfriends or whatever um there are i know i know the chewing habits of literally every person in my life oh yeah we we'd have it all documented in our brains yeah exactly so you know i would position myself at somewhere in the table where i was around my cousins that i knew weren't going to be like that or something but yeah i mean either just disappear into the other room and if i can't just post up by somebody that i know is gonna not try and annoy me do you usually eat pretty quickly then try to get it all down and then volunteer to wash the dishes and No, I don't know. I don't really think into it too much like that. Like I said, mostly everybody is pretty respectful of it, and then they try extra hard, you know?

Adeel [26:25]: Yeah, well, that's great. Yeah, that's great that at least everybody knows. So unless you have some one or two punks, they're not going to, they're probably generally okay.

Kristen [26:33]: Yeah. Well, I'm kind of, I mean, my whole family, you know, most of us are Italian. I'm kind of loud. I'm kind of, you know, I can be kind of like tough sometimes. And so, you know, at first when I tell people, and not just my family, but my friends, you know, at first when I kind of tell people about it, like I said, I'm laughing, I'm making fun of myself. But then when they try something and I just snap, then they know like, all right, I'm just not going to do this to her.

Adeel [26:56]: Yeah, not going to go there.

Kristen [26:58]: Yeah. So, yeah, I don't have too many issues with it. I feel like I kind of have it easier than a lot of people because I know how to distance myself. I can distance myself. You know what I mean? I have a lot of people that respect me for it. And finally, ever since the name came out for it, people believe me more now. And they think they know that it's not something I can just ignore.

Adeel [27:21]: Well, hopefully they're hearing some celebrities are talking about it. Yeah. You mentioned boyfriends and girlfriends. Have you had a relationship with somebody that you've told about this or has it like... Yeah. I've heard weird stuff, so I'm just curious if you want to share what has happened. Oh, yeah. I've heard good and I've heard weird.

Kristen [27:43]: I'm an open book. Yeah. I actually have to, especially, you know, like when I'm dating someone, if you're going to be around them that much, that's so last week, actually, for instance, I went out with some guy from Tinder or something like that. And normally when I go out with them, I'll warn them ahead of time. I'll be like, just so you know, I have this thing. Don't chew gum around me. And they don't.

Adeel [28:05]: Even before you go out with them, like in the chat, whatever the, I've never used it, but like in the, okay. Yeah.

Kristen [28:09]: Yeah, I will warn them. You know, like I said, when I make friends and stuff, I don't really, you know, when I make friends, I usually make them through work or something. So I don't really bring it up there. But if I know I'm going to be in a one-on-one conversation with someone who, you know, potentially is someone that I could date, I'm just going to warn them straight up because they're going to hear about it at one point or another. So I usually warn them. And this one kid I forgot to warn. And when we got to the bar, he was chewing gum and he was chewing it really badly. And so I tried to kind of ignore it because we were in a really loud bar with music. But then that whole visual trigger thing started happening. And I noticed I wasn't looking at him and I was looking around and I felt kind of rude while he was talking to me. So he's in the middle of talking at one point. I'm like, all right, bro, listen, I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt you, but you got to spit your gum off because you're driving me crazy and your mouth is open and I have this problem. And he thought it was hilarious, and he spit it out. And I was like, I don't mean to be crazy or whatever, but it's a big problem. And if you notice, I haven't been looking at you or anything, and it's because it's bothering me. And then that was it, and we got past it. But, you know, I did date someone for a couple years that he knew about it from the jump. And then we had dinner one night. And it was really quiet in my apartment because it was just kind of a last minute thing, you know, and we just we were eating or whatever. And I could tell he was trying really, really hard. And I didn't say anything because he was trying hard. So, you know, if you have your mouth closed and I can hear you chewing, it doesn't bother me because I don't know. I like I know you're trying.

Adeel [29:34]: And so, yeah, I think I don't mean to interrupt, but I think it comes down to the fight or flight. If you somehow your brain somehow thinks it's safe.

Kristen [29:43]: yeah you're in a safe space that maybe yeah sorry continue yeah no that's okay yeah so so he was trying and and like i said i could hear stuff but he his mouth was closed so it just didn't bother me and then at the end of it you know he was like how did i do like what did you think i'm like what are you talking about and it's not like i don't think of it until i hear a sound you know what i mean yeah so i wasn't really focused on it and i'm like what are you talking about do what you're not grading him you And he was like, I was trying so hard. Like, I was so scared. I'm so afraid to eat around you. Like, this is why we don't go to dinner. And I was like, you're doing too much. It's okay. I appreciate, I appreciate so much how hard you're trying, but I'm not thinking about it every time we sit down. hear anything like if you start chewing like a cow then i'm gonna have no choice but to listen but that's not what i'm focused on this doesn't run my life you know i make adjustments here and there i don't put myself in certain situations and i and i tell people but i'm not thinking about it every day i don't think about it until i hear it yeah you you chill we chill just don't yeah don't make any sudden movements right But yeah, my friends always joke around with me that, you know, if I meet somebody and they're cool within the first week, we need to go out to dinner. And if he does well, then all right, we can keep going.

Adeel [30:56]: I wonder what some good litmus tests would be. Coming in chewing gum is a good one. Are there any other, like, are you seeing, and you don't have to get into medical stuff, but I'm just curious if you've seen an audiologist or any kind of therapist, or are you just kind of self-diagnosing and doing self-therapy like most of us?

Kristen [31:24]: Yeah, pretty much. But when I was 18, I did go to a psychologist and I tried to tell her about it. And so when I was 18, that was in like 2003. Yeah, very early in this. Yeah, nobody knew what it was. And when I told her, I'll never forget her face. She just stared at me like I was a psychopath. And I was so offended. I don't get offended, but you're a psychologist. At least hide your confusions.

Adeel [31:50]: Yeah, you should have seen. Yeah, you've heard crazier stuff than this.

Kristen [31:54]: Yeah. And so she just she didn't understand. I tried to explain it. She didn't understand. She tried to tell me that it was obsessive compulsive disorder. Right. You know, and I was really into psychology back then. And I would read all the time just for fun about different things. And I was like, I don't know. I don't think this really fits into that. You know, and she's like, well, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe just try like holding ice when you hear the sound and trying to distract yourself. and i was holding ice yeah that that was literally my response i was like what and she was like you know just do things to distract yourself and then at that point i just understood you know she she didn't understand that there there is no distracting you know what i mean so i get that she was trying to help but the fact that she was kind of like what the heck what you know like that was her response i was like i'm not even gonna bring this up to anybody professional like ever again

Adeel [32:44]: Yeah. If you're surprised by something, don't look like you're shot. Yeah. And it's not like I told her anything crazy. Right, right, right. Right. We could all tell, you know, we all have stuff in our... We have all violent thoughts, so I'm assuming you didn't... telling some of the crazy stuff we can probably tell people.

Kristen [33:02]: Right. No, I wasn't even detailed. I was just like, when people chew like this, I freak out and I want to fight them, but I don't do anything. That's not something crazy to hear. So no, I never told anybody else after that. I think I mentioned it to my new doctor, my just family doctor, not family doctor, just my regular physician or whatever. But she also didn't hear it. This was three years ago. She had also never heard of it before. Um, but that was just when I was just being introduced to her and listing, you know, issues that I've had and stuff like that medically. Um, but no, I just kind of, like I said, I just kind of take care of it myself. Um, like you said, now that I'm older, besides this year, the, in the past I've been living on my own, you know, and I go to work and I hang out with the same couple of friends and they know better than to do anything. I'm not, I'm not afraid to call people out and they don't ever want to be put in that position and they don't want to

Adeel [33:54]: bother me you know so i don't really it's not really a big issue in my life until you know until i meet someone new or i'm stuck in a position where people don't know about it so we'll get some we'll get the links to i guess some of your youtube stuff and whatnot just uh if you're if you're down for people uh check it out and put that in the show notes but um any kind of um other last minute um things you want to tell there's gonna be a lot of people here listening who've probably been bottling this up for a long time and I haven't told anybody and I'm just kind of listening to their earphones. Anything you want to tell them from your experiences? We covered a lot, I know.

Kristen [34:33]: Yeah. No, I mean, I found for me that I find for me that actually telling people at some point really helps make things a lot easier. You know, anytime you have to keep something bottled up, it doesn't feel well, doesn't feel good. And, you know, people may react a certain way, but you know, I feel like eventually if they start to see what kind of pain and stress that it can cause for you, then they'll kind of understand. So I would just say, you know, talk to people about it if you can and make sure you explain it the right way where it doesn't just sound like, you know, I'm irritated by this. You know, they need to understand that it's actually, it's actually a problem. It causes a physical response in you. But yeah, I would say just try not to hold it in.

Adeel [35:13]: Yep. I think society, I think is slowly getting, getting to that point. So hopefully the show will help too. Well, thanks. Yeah. Thanks, Kristen. This is, this is great. This is, this is fun to listen to you and good luck with, good luck with everything.

Kristen [35:27]: All right. Thank you so much for having me on.

Adeel [35:30]: Well, I hope you enjoyed my chat with Kristen. You can drop me a line anytime at hello at I still have lots of stickers I can send. You can just shoot me your mailing address. By the way, if you're liking the podcast, please do leave a review, especially on iTunes, Apple Podcasts. It just helps more people see the podcast in their feed. Look for the Misophonia Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The music again is by Moby, and until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.