I just started here a week ago and am not that much of a talker. My first week hasn't concisted of much work, but mainly studying up.

I have a lot of tics (tourettes) and the combination of thinking a lot because of the studying makes it so I often tic without thinking about it. Now I have this really annoying vocal tic, where I shortly hum / cough.

I'd like to inquire wether or not people are bothered about it, but am not sure if it is relevant (perhaps they would've spoken to me about it yet?) and I should ignore it, of if there is a way to inquire about them without coming across as insecure or thinking more about that then work.

  • Just to confirm; had you mentioned at any time during your interviews or to your manager that you have tourette's?
    – user34587
    Aug 9, 2018 at 8:00
  • @Kozaky I have mentioned it in the user interview and my manager didn't deem it a problem (as I got hired I guess). Noone has said anything about it so far either, so I'm thinking it's more inside my head.
    – Maartenw
    Aug 9, 2018 at 8:01
  • Why would you ask though? If they're tics there's probably nothing you can do about it anyway? Do you want your colleagues to point it out to you when you're doing it because it's only subconscious and you can stop when you're made aware of it?
    – Lilienthal
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:26
  • @Lilienthal It is subconcious yet I'm concious of it. It's more of: if it is really annoying I can sit in the meeting room alone and progress there. Some days they're barely present but for example today, they're constant
    – Maartenw
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:31
  • @MaartenWachters So essentially you want to just let them know to tell you if you have a bad day so you can sit elsewhere for a while? If so, you may want to edit that into your answer so it's clear what kind of outcome you're looking for.
    – Lilienthal
    Aug 9, 2018 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


If you're concerned that your colleagues are bothered, you should simply ask them. I'm sure everyone around you is aware that you have tics and cannot do much against them. But openly telling someone "Your constant humming is grating on my nerves" or even talking behind your back about your tics is bordering on discrimination.

However, if you breach that taboo and start talking about it, you give everyone the chance to talk civilized about their concerns, problems or acceptance. This not only applies to situations where you are so concentrated that you don't notice your tics, but also to situations that make you nervous and increase the frequency of your tics.

You could tell the colleagues sitting in your office after lunch break

Hey, I think you all noticed that I have this humming tic. All this learning makes me tic quite often, so I wanted to know if anyone is bothered by it? I'm concerned I might break your concentration or grate on your nerves, so please tell me if it's affecting you negatively.

By openly speaking about your tics, you might increase your acceptance among your colleagues or teach them about autism and tics. Depending on their answers you might talk to your manager to initiate some changes like moving some colleagues to another room or getting a room to yourself.

In any way, you initiating the talk will hopefully prevent frustration in affected co-workers because they feel like it's unappropriate to raise the issue.


Regardless to whether or not people are bothered about it. The fact that is a tic is not something you can really control and people will need to learn to deal with it. Ticks are unintentional, fast and repetitive so it’ll happen regardless and certain situations are likely to exacerbate it.

If it got to the point where it was affecting working for both yourself and your colleagues significantly, then ultimately your manager is going to be responsible for making reasonable adjustments to cater for it without discriminating you in any way. That could be something as simple as giving you a bit time out to yourself to let it calm down.

You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone but if it would make you feel more comfortable maybe you could speak with your manager about how to approach the situation and keep your colleagues informed.


Joining a company it is very likely that your manager was aware of this condition and had passed this information on to others before hand so they are aware also. Potentially if you have a tic and you end up making eye contact with someone just mime sorry and smile and see what their reaction is.

If they smile back the likelihood is that they are aware and learn to put up with it. It is also very likely that it does bother people but if they understand and are aware of tourettes they will learn to live with it even if they are bothered as they know its not something you can particularly control.

If you approach them I'm sure they will be understanding and not assume you are insecure about it but just querying your thought but theres a large chance that people don't talk to you about it just incase you do infact feel insecure so if you openly discuss it to colleagues they'll likely be more understanding of you and your condition

  • I would not assume that the manager has passed this information on to others, and many locales this would be considered a breach of privacy. This could be considered as essentially the same as disclosing confidential medical or disability information.
    – David K
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:08
  • @DavidK is stated very likely. and my bottom paragraph covers other aspects
    – Twyxz
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:09

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