Q&A With Jane: My Coworker Eats with Mouth Open. I’m Going To Lose My Mind!

It could be unbearably disturbing when a coworker eats with mouth open. And it’s easier to deal with a loud chewer when you know them quite well. What if you don’t? Here’s what to do if your coworker chews loudly.

Hello Jane,

My coworker eats with mouth open and that makes a loud smacking sound, which I find uneasy to contain. Ordinarily, I feel like isolating myself in a soundproof cave each time I hear people eating, let alone when I need to concentrate at work – it’s more like a personal hell. Sounds like gnawing on a sandwich and crunching chips make me want to scream.

Before now, my office layout had supported cubicles but a new management introduced a more open layout to promote intermingling and to create additional space for more hires into my department. The coworker smacks her food at her desk, which is adjacent to mine and I honestly cannot deal with a loud chewer for any reason. I and some unknown number of persons suffer from misophonia – a condition in which specific sounds trigger negative thoughts, emotions, and physical reactions.

Please, how am I supposed to deal with a loud chewer at work? My parents understand this condition and allow me to eat alone in my room.

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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