Misophonia is a real condition that affects “real lives”. Sounds such as lips smacking while eating, clicking of a pen, tapping of fingers on a table, or even writing with a pencil or pen while taking a test, can affect others that have this condition called Misophonia. It’s not simply an annoyance of sounds made by others but it causes a great deal of stress, panic, or feelings of rage when these, appearing simple, sounds are heard. These symptoms can often go unnoticed as the person with these sound sensitivities often doesn’t know how much it negatively affects them. People with Mysophonia often begin to seclude and distance themselves from others. They may avoid social areas or quiet areas that were the cause of the sounds. I would encourage anyone with these concerns to call our practice as we want to be a part of helping.
We can learn a great deal as a professional in how to help people with the Mysophonia. Please, call to discuss this with one of our Doctors of Audiology. The below article found on WebMD is quite good as an overview of Misophonia.
Misophonia, also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, starts with a trigger. It’s often an oral sound — the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe, chew, yawn, or whistle. Sometimes a small repetitive motion is the cause — someone fidgets, jostles you, or wiggles their foot.
If you have a mild reaction, you might feel:
The urge to flee
If your response is more severe, the sound in question might cause:
A desire to kill or stop whatever is making the noise
The disease can put a cramp in your social life. You might avoid restaurants or eat separately from your spouse, family, or roommates. Or worse, you could act on what you feel. You might attack the person who’s making the sound — physical or verbally — cry, or run away from the situation.
Over time, you may respond to visual triggers, too. Seeing someone get ready to eat or put something in their mouth might set you off.
How Do You Get It?
This lifelong condition usually starts between the ages of 9 and 13 and is more common with girls. It comes on quickly, but isn’t related to any one event.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes misophonia, but it’s not a problem with your ears. They think it’s part mental, part physical. It could be related to how sound affects your brain and triggers automatic responses in your body.
Because your ears are normal and your hearing is OK, the doctor may have trouble with a diagnosis. Misophonia is sometimes mistaken for anxiety or bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some doctors think it should be classified as a new disorder.
How Do You Treat It?
The condition does affect daily life, but you can learn to manage it.
More than a dozen misophonia clinics around the country offer sound therapy combined with psychological counseling. The doctor sets up background noises to counteract your trigger sound.
You might try a device like a hearing aid that creates a sound in your ear similar to a waterfall. The noise distracts you from triggers and reduces reactions. Other treatments include talk therapy and antidepressants.
Your lifestyle also plays a role. Get regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and manage your stress. You can also wear ear plugs and headsets to tune out sounds. Set up quiet areas or safe spots in your home where no one will make the noises that bother you.
And find support. The Misophonia Association has chapters across the country. It holds annual conventions to bring together doctors and patients interested in this subject.
You can also find online and social media groups where people share coping strategies.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 14, 2016
Wow, how interesting!! I can definitely relate to this one, on a personal level, with a few family members!
Thanks and I’m glad you liked this post!
This is wonderful stuff. Having tinnitus myself, and can relate to the non-obvious challenges. Issues that no one can see, but can consume you. Education, education.
Thank you! I agree education is the key to inform those with these conditions.
I have been seeing more of this in the past several years and explains why I am always correcting my son when he chews with his mouth open!!
Same here and often the patient isn’t even aware of it or to put a name to it. LOL with your son!
I had no idea hearing devices could help with this. That’s awesome!
Thanks for posting Mary. I am hopeful that they can be helpful for those with these sound sensitives.
I think everyone has some negative response to certain sounds. I’ve always hated when people “crackle” an empty water bottle. But if it affects your mental state and tolerance of being in certain environments and interferes with quality of life, then professional help is definitely needed.
I can agree with that. Good points. We are here to first of all listen and then attempt to offer help in any way we can. Always, starts with listening….