Why I hate ASMR


Photo by Thomas Sagers

Lindsey Burns, Staff Writer

I’m not an angry person. As I’m writing this, trying to think of things that I get angry at, I literally had to google, “What makes people mad?” Slow drivers, unsolicited advice, multiple YouTube ads in a row… I really couldn’t care less.

But the second I’m forced to listen to someone chewing or clacking their nails into a microphone, I am ENRAGED. 

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, referring to the tingling feeling that runs from the scalp down the spine that some people get when they listen to strangers mouth-breathe into a microphone. Before the term “meridian response” gained popularity, people used phrases like “low-grade euphoria” and “brain-gasm” to describe the feeling. 

To me, it feels like someone poured a bucket of baby spiders down the back of my shirt.

And I’m not alone in my hatred of ASMR. While some of these videos have racked up to 12 million views and hundreds of thousands of likes, roughly 20% of the population experiences a fight-or-flight response to ASMR. We have what’s called misophonia, or hatred of sound. 

In my opinion there are 3 distinct classes of ASMR, ranging from “disgusting,” “bearable,” and “WHY???”

Disgusting noises: chewing, eating, lip smacking, slurping, scratching, slime noises, peeling. If you actually enjoy any of these sounds, I seriously question your judgement and table manners. 

Bearable noises: brushing teeth, soap bubble noises, breathing. These noises are allowed only because they are necessary and quiet.

WHY??? noises: acrylic nails, coughing, flossing, buzzing. I have nothing outright negative to say about you if you like these noises… I just have questions. 

For some people, ASMR calms their anxiety. It allows them to turn off the loud parts of their brain. It helps them sleep. I would rather fall asleep cuddling a running vacuum or use a beeping fire alarm as a pillow.

Studies have found that those who enjoy ASMR are more likely to measure high in neuroticism and openness to new experiences, and low on conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extraversion. Other studies have shown that those who experience ASMR and those who experience misophonia have different levels and speed of brain connectivity relating to auditory perception and judgement. So before you judge me for my admittedly extreme response, know that it’s possibly hardwired in my brain.