Veggie-Crunching and Lip-Smacking Videos Are the Actual Worst When You Have Misphonia

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
When ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, first started to gain traction a few years back, I’ll admit I was skeptical. ASMR describes the feeling you get when certain sounds produce a relaxation effect—some folks even explain it as a tingling sensation, or a brain orgasm. I was more likely to describe it as giving me the heebie-jeebies. There was something unnerving to me about hearing someone whisper into a microphone while rubbing their hands across a balloon or untangling earphones or applying makeup. But the more I explored, the more the videos broke me down, and I started to understand. I’ll even admit to feeling kind of relaxed when listening to a woman whisper while running her fingers over the bristle of a brush.

This was all good and fine (but, like, honestly still pretty weird) when noises were limited to innocuous tappings and crinkles—but then things went haywire. Unceremoniously, feathers on a microphone and fingernails drumming against food-storage containers gave way to far less ear-pleasing sounds when I came upon…wait a sec, I have close my eyes and focus on not gagging. Okay, …when I came upon food-noise videos.

Yep, YouTubers are combining mukbangs, the South Korea-born trend of eating a large quantity of food and livestreaming it to millions (millions!), with ASMR. Suddenly, instead of soft, comforting noises, I was visually and sonically assaulted with gulps from a straw or the wet chewing of a cheeseburger.

There are no shortage of extreme crunch videos (in which the creator chows down on crudités) and, more horrifyingly IMO, sticky-noise videos (for finger-licking, tongue-smacking sweets like honeycomb). And viewers get to soak up every single sloppy second.

For me, the effect of these ASMR food videos couldn't be farther from a brain orgasm—and I bet I'm not the only misophonia sufferer who feels this way.

For me, the effect of this blasphemy couldn't be farther from a brain orgasm. What it is, though, is a surefire way to get me to reenact that Rebel Wilson GIF in which she's screaming “ENOUGH!”

This has gone too far, people. And I bet I'm not the only misophonia sufferer—a disorder in which common, totally gross sounds like snoring, chewing, and breathing elicit an emotional response—in the world who thinks so. There is nothing less satisfying to me than hearing someone chew food. Honestly. I have canceled second dates because my suitor slurped and gulped and smacked his meal, creating a cacophony of sounds that made my stomach turn. So I can’t get behind these food-focused ASMR videos. They don’t produce tingling sensations; they produce downright nausea.

Even if you don't share my aversion and were blessedly born without my sensitivity to sound, I still can't wrap my mind around actually enjoying these videos. Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to chew with your mouth open? Didn’t you ever learn that chewing shouldn't be audible? Because I did, and if my mom ever heard me smacking and swallowing and carrying on in the way these ASMR nightmares showcase and straight-up condone, I’d be banished to the kiddie table for all of eternity.

It isn’t even the sound of the crunching that's so stomach-turning for me. Crunching is, after all, a pleasant sound. I'll crunch leaves under my shoes all autumn long with a smile on my face and hot coffee in hand. It’s everything that comes after that initial crunch. It’s the sloppy sound of the saliva filling a mouth and smacking around to break down the food. It’s the oversize, somehow audible swallowing that comes after taking a gratuitously large bite. It’s revolting, and it makes me want to puke—not get lulled into a deep daze.

So, please, I’m begging you. Stop crunching veggies and housing burgers in front of microphones. Stop slurping sodas and crushing ice with your teeth. It’s not fodder for an brain orgasm. It’s a brain mood killer—and it’s totally putting me off my dinner.

If being legit sick is the real reason you're feeling nauseous, pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea. And if it's food poisoning you're getting over, here's exactly what to eat.

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