None of us loves to hear a person smacking their chops or clearing gunk from their throat, but for Dr Jane Gregory such noises feel intolerable and enraging. Prior to our Zoom chat, the clinical psychologist at the University of Oxford stuffed an old pillow up the chimney to block out the sounds of the pigeons on the roof.

Until about 20 years ago, misophonia — or selective sound sensitivity syndrome — was unheard of yet one in five of us in the UK are thought to have it. “There are people who are disrupted in their lives, experience distress every day and have a lot of functional impairment as a result of it,” Gregory, 43, says. Others have it sub-clinically, where certain sounds provoke

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