Being oversensitive to sound could mean you’re in the same creative league as Charles Darwin

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Image: Irritated by noisy eaters at work? You might be a genius, says science

Via The Proposal / Touchstone Pictures /

We’ve all been there: your office next-door neighbour, Laura, is busy munching on an apple. Loudly. For what seems like forever. You try to keep your cool but teeth grinding and eye rolling is unavoidable.


Sound like you? Well, you could be a genius.


Being overly sensitive to sound could have been the key to the creativity of geniuses like Charles Darwin, Franz Kafka and Anton Chekhov, says science.

In tests of 100 respondents, psychologists examined the link between people’s ability to filter out irrelevant audio stimuli (aka annoying munching noises) and creativity. They found that there was a strong link between those who could think outside the box and those who were bad at blocking out irritating noises (hello Laura and her apple). 


The study, which was published by Northwestern University in the journal Neuropsychologia, suggests that people who are sensitive to such noise were more likely to think creatively as their minds were able to focus on a wide range of things simultaneously.


Darya Zabelina, a PhD psychology student at Northwestern University said: “If funnelled in the right direction, these sensitivities can make life more rich and meaningful.”


So, while some may think the literary mastermind Marcel Proust was eccentric for lining his bedroom with cork to block out noise, it turns out he really was an utter genius.


Go forth and continue to get annoyed at Laura chomping on that apple. And if she says you're being unreasonable, just tell her you're a genius.