HEARING someone slurp on their soup, incessantly tap their pen or breathe heavily can incite rage into the calmest of people.

But it turns out hatred of such sounds is actually a psychological condition called misophonia.

Sufferers doesn't hate all sounds, of course, but scientists have found some people's brains become hardwired to produce an "excessive" emotional response.

Researchers at Newcastle University scanned the brains of 42 people in the UK 20 suffering from misophonia and 22 without the condition.

The participants were placed in a MRI scanner and played unpleasant sounds, such as screaming, rain fall and people's 'triggers'.

The team found that the anterior insular - part of the brain that joins our senses with our emotions - was overly active in misophonia.

"They are going into overdrive when they hear these sounds, but the activity was specific to the trigger sounds not the other two sounds," Dr Sukhbinder Kumar from Newcastle University said.

"The reaction is anger mostly, it's not disgust. The dominating emotion is the anger - it looks like a normal response, but then it is going into overdrive."

The findings were published in Current Biology last year.

Olana Tansley-Hancock, who has suffered from the condition since she was eight years old, struggles with sounds like breathing and eating.

"I feel there's a threat and get the urge to lash out - it's the fight or flight response," she told the BBC.

"Anyone eating crisps is always going to set me off, the rustle of the packet is enough to start a reaction.

"It's not a general annoyance, it's an immediate 'Oh my God, what is that sound?' I need to get away from it or stop it'."

The term misophonia was first coined by audiologists Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff in a publication in 2000.

There are no evidence-based treatments for the condition; doctors generally try to help people manage it by recognising what the person is experiencing, and working on coping strategies.

It is not known whether males or females or older or younger people, are more likely to have misophonia.