Friday, March 29, 2013

I hate the sound of pencils scratching on paper (Or, Weird aversions to specific things)

The sound of pencils scratching on paper makes me cringe. My shoulders tense up and I feel like my ears actually hurt. Once I hear it, if it keeps going the sensation keeps getting worse and worse, kind of similar to how you get more and more ticklish, once those nerve endings are stimulated. This never used to come up, but John is "kind of a pencil person"; he even uses the old-school pencils you have to sharpen, which sound ten times scrapier than mechanical pencils. If the paper is particularly dry or rough (as in manila paper), again: ten times worse. And just thinking of the sound of an old, dry eraser scraping against paper, or a dry cloth being wiped across rough unfinished plywood, makes me want to crumple up and cry/die. Running fingers across dry paper or plywood is horrible too. I've got a bad case of the chills just writing this.

I just googled it and this particular kind of "misophonia" seems to be associated with autism/Asperger's. Weird.

Do you have any weird sensory aversions to very specific things? Last summer, during a game of Balderdash, I learned there's a word for a feeling of discomfort experienced while touching something fuzzy, like velvet, a peach or a tennis ball (haptodysphoria). What on earth would cause these things?

28 comments:

  1. Oh I have this for loads of things.

    The sound of people clipping or filing their nails (the latter is a textural thing too - I can't file my own nails. The idea makes me cringe)

    Small repetitive noises of all kinds - worse if they are slightly off tempo. Some days are worse than others - today I was really thrown off my groove by the cloppity noise of a woman passing me in heels. Normally, that's fine. People chewing their food loudly.



    So, a whole pile of these random sensitivites. Sometimes it's hard to explain to other people - I'm not on the autistic spectrum at all. My filter's just a bit broken. Always good to hear of others who have similar experiences!

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    1. Hating the sound of people chewing is really common as far as misophonia goes, I think, but it's never bothered me. Nail files can be gross but again, for me, it depends a lot on the quality of the nail file -- cheap cruddy emory boards are ugh. I have a glass nail file that usually works well but every now and then it gives me a very high-pitched uncomfortable sensation like getting your teeth drilled.

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    2. The small repetitive noise that will ruin my day and make it impossible to do anything is a low battery alert going off on a smoke detector. But I assume that's scientifically calculated to make everyone want to suicide, so you'll buy the freaking batteries.

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    3. Oddly enough, that one annoys me but not to the extent of the ones I mentioned. I will quickly try to stop the beeping, but if someone near me on the train or bus starts filing their nails (why!?) I will get really agitated.

      I started looking this all up on wiki - sensory defensiveness is the general term. Pretty sure it's me to a tee. Now I can tell people that's what's going on there. Thanks!

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  2. I'm with you on the Smoke detector but you know what -- I kind of love the sound of pencils on paper. Squeaking chalk no, and I have a horror of blow-dryers (least-favorite sound).

    While we're at it, what are you favorite sounds? For me, animals (particularly dogs and cats) drinking water from a bowl. I also love the sound of elevator doors opening.

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    1. Best sound on earth is a waterfall. Auditory massage. Rain is good too -- I don't like rain during the day when I want my Vit D but LOVE when it rains at night. Helps me sleep.

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  3. I love the sound of breeze in the tree leaves on a warm evening. Rain is a nice sound also. And water sounds in general.

    Also the sound of birds in the early morning. (Where I live, that could be sparrows, crows, geese, and seagulls, among others.)

    There aren't really any sounds that I have a specific aversion to. To the extent that I dislike any sounds, it's for a definable reason -- I dislike the alarm clock going off in the morning, because it's time to get up and I'm still sleepy; I dislike loud traffice noise because it's, well, loud; and so on. But really not any that I dislike in and of themselves.

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    1. I've lived in places where the birds in the trees were so comically loud that it sounded like the monkey house at the zoo, which was not altogether pleasant. Also, in Jamaica Plain, there was this one bird whose call sounded exactly like the mean kid on The Simpsons laughing: HA ha! HA ha! In pre-dawn insomnia hours, that was the worst. But in general, yeah, birds are great.

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    2. Oh, speaking of hating sounds for a reason: I remember hearing recently about a woman who hated the sound of ice clinking in a glass, because her father was an alcoholic.

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  4. trains in the distance. orgasm-quality.

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    1. Oh yes, the house I grew up in is four or five blocks from some train tracks.

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  5. I always hated the sensation of fingernails dragging across the fabric that's on the ceilings of cars.

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    1. Fingernails dragging on things is horrible as often as it isn't.

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  6. Eating off of Stoneware is hideous. OMG, really? It's like a fork scraping across concrete. Makes my jaws tingly and tight.

    I love the sound of rain, too, and thunder, late at night. Makes me feel tucked in and dramatically safe.

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    1. Ooh just tonight John was dragging his fork across the bottom of a bowl and killing me.

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  7. Metal against metal, i.e., metal hangers on a metal clothing rack, all the worse when the clothes are heavy; silverware clanking together in a drawer; large rulers being thrown into a bin that regularly holds them (this memory brought to you by final minutes of 8th grade art class).

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    1. I can see that. I mean, hear it.

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  8. It's not a sound, but a sensation I cannot stand--and cannot even really bring myself to do--is in yoga when the instructor tells us to grab our own toes during any stretch where we're supposed to extend our legs, like boat pose. It feels beyond horrible to me to do that, all pully and stringy and tendony. I have to grab the side of my foot.

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    1. A *sound* I was reminded that I can't stand by watching THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS with my poetry class last night is people shaving--like a man shaving his face with a non-electric razor: that scrape scrape scraping sound.

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  9. Songs with clap machines and that fucking Fender Rhodes electric piano you hear on so many 70s ballads. You know, "Just the Way You Are"--yuck.

    Compulsive throat-clearers and hawk-&-spitters.

    When you're nodding off on the freeway and suddenly find yourself driving on that washboard along the shoulder. The horrible noise that jerks you alert.

    Australian accents commenting on tennis.

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    1. A surprisingly pleasant sensation is when I'm doing pushups and I hear and feel something in my sternum area crack and give. Sometimes it happens when I yawn, too. It feels like cracking my knuckles.

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    2. Yeah, I hate when I nod off on the freeway and hear the side of the car grinding against a semi truck. So annoying!

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    3. Okay, yeah. That awful song "I've Got a Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. It sounds like a robot voice is singing. Or I guess I mean "singing." Just hideous.

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    4. That Autotune sound?

      I think we all have musical things we hate which isn't exactly the same as having a sort of reflexive negative reaction to some random sound in the world, because musical peeves might be ideological.

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  10. I love the sound of halyards clanking in the breeze, but have a similar aversion to nail filing. I get round this by biting mine. Oh, and what David said - the corrugated markings on the road feel and sound horrible when you drive over them!

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    1. You know what random smell I love? The vapor from a humidifier. I can't figure out why it has such a particular smell, which is not the smell of water. Some delicious mold perhaps??

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  11. Did you ever find a way to overcome this problem?
    I need to take a test using only a pencil, and right now I would rather fail.

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