Sound “Ouch”: Misophonia

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Mental Health Therapy

two young boys sitting next to each other while eating and one is holding his ears closed at the sound the other boy is making while he eats

Did you know there is a name for sensitivity to sound or noise? It’s called “misophonia”.

Misophonia

Misophonia, often described as a “hatred of sound,” is a condition where specific sounds trigger intense emotional or physiological responses. For individuals with misophonia, everyday noises such as chewing, tapping, or breathing can provoke reactions ranging from irritation to panic and anger. It’s a condition that not only affects the person suffering from it but also impacts their social interactions and overall quality of life. Here’s a closer look at the symptoms of misophonia and some tools and strategies for managing its effects.

Personal Experience

Many clients I work with are sensitive to the sound of chewing; crowds and electronics, which are typically not noticed by most individuals, impact my clients. The impact can be minor, causing irritation to severe pain.

Misophonia is still a relatively under-researched condition, and raising awareness is key.

Please rule out Tinnitus or having a side effect to medication with your PCP or other medical provider.

Symptoms of Misophonia

Misophonia symptoms vary widely among individuals but commonly include:

  • Immediate, intense emotional responses to specific sounds, including anger, disgust, panic, or the need to flee.
  • Physical reactions, such as sweating, muscle tension, or an increased heart rate.
  • Anticipation anxiety as sufferers might avoid social situations or locations where triggering sounds are expected.
  • Impact on daily life, including difficulties concentrating, sleeping problems, and strain on personal relationships.
  • It’s important to note that misophonia is different from being merely annoyed by certain sounds; the emotional response is often out of proportion to the triggering sound.

Managing Misophonia

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, various strategies can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Sound Masking

White noise machines can help drown out triggering sounds. Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can be a practical solution in situations where control over the environment’s sounds is limited.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, can help reduce the overall stress level, potentially lessening the severity of misophonia reactions.

Communication Strategies

Educating family and friends can help them understand the condition and foster a supportive environment. Developing a plan for how to respond when in a potentially triggering situation can reduce anxiety and provide a sense of control.

Medication

There have been medications that show a higher level of tolerance. Many are under-researched, and it is important you work with a specialist.

Moving Forward

Find Professional Support

Consulting with a mental health professional who understands misophonia can provide personalized strategies and support.

Living with misophonia can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, individuals can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Make sure you are working with an expert on your strategies who can find what works best for you and lead to a more comfortable life, even in a world full of sounds.

Suffer from Misophonia?

Contact me and see if I can assist in your case. Tina M Gunn: tinagunn@hushmail.com or 402-681-5181.