January 27, 2016
Sluuurrrp. CRUNCH. Smack. Many people can’t stand the sound of loud eaters, and there is even a name for those who get angry about it – misophonia.
But on the other side of that, an entire community of YouTube viewers spend countless hours intentionally listening to isolated, amplified food sounds. Though the former may seem more normal to you, the latter group simply experiences something known as A.S.M.R.
What Is ASMR?
Auto Meridian Sensory Response is a fancy term for a phenomenon more affectionately known as “brain tingles” which are triggered by certain sounds and may or may not be accompanied by equally soothing visuals.
Triggers range from specific sounds like a calligraphy pen writing on a piece of paper to personal attention scenarios like getting your hair cut. In almost every video the individual is whispering, and accentuating the smack of their lips.
YouTubers known as ASMRtists create trigger videos to appeal to the community at large. While what they do may appear strange to some, favorite ASMRtists can garner millions of views on YouTube.
What Does ASMR Have To Do With Food?
A particular subset of ASMRtists specializes in food sound videos that can feature anywhere from just eating sounds, such as noodles getting slurped to candy getting chewed, to creating elaborate restaurant role plays.
For those with ASMR, these sounds can induce a relaxing state and a pleasant brain buzz to bring you down from an anxiety attack or just lull you to sleep.
Ten to 100 minutes of someone intentionally eating in the most deliberate way possible is a polarizing trigger even within the ASMR community. Food sounds are a particular sub-niche on YouTube where these people can safely catch some Zzzs.
They Even Have Recipe Videos
Just because some viewers aren’t into food sounds, doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy food-related ASMR videos. Recipe videos are often quite popular and tend to show someone creating a dish in a soft-spoken voice. These videos pack triggers like clanking kitchenware and sizzling sounds.
Videos of this type combine a slight personal feel, often falling into ramble territory as the person over-explains steps or provides numerous anecdotes. And that’s a good thing.
Ramblers are a cornerstone of the ASMR community because they add authenticity to personal attention-styled videos. Hour long appliance unboxings and 30 minute grilled cheese sandwiches provide enough time for the viewer to relax and drift away.
So Why Are These Videos So Long?
Even in a five-minute video of someone slurping tea, someone who doesn’t experience ASMR can feel like the content is a bit hand over fist.
Certain triggers, especially if the video is brand new to the user, can produce a pronounced tingle that excites rather than relaxes at first. It can take some time for that tingle to dull slightly. If the viewer falls asleep during the video, they’ll continue using it until they build up a tolerance and can make it to the video’s end.
Essentially, these YouTubers are providing modern soundscapes, but instead of white noise machines, waterfalls or thunderstorms, viewers get to watch them eat chicken wings.
Sounds like a dream scenario for everyone involved.