Misophonia is a disorder characterized by severe sensitivity to certain sounds. It was only recognized as a medical disorder in 2001. Pawel Jastreboff, a neurophysiologist, invented the term after publishing a study in 2001 detailing symptoms of diminished sound tolerance.
Here are several sounds to which people may be sensitive:
- throat clearing
Hearing loss or tinnitus aren't required for people to develop misophonia. It is also unnecessary for these loud noises to evoke an emotional response in those with misophonia. Sounds specific to a patient, on the other hand, elicit powerful adverse reactions on a behavioral level.
What are the most common misophonia symptoms?
Those with a mild form of the illness may feel frightened, uneasy, or compelled to leave the area immediately. Those with more severe symptoms, on the other hand, are more likely to experience stronger emotions like fury, terror, and fear. When dread is the predominant emotion, phonophobia develops, a type of misophonia.
Misophonia can be so severe that those who suffer from it are entirely overwhelmed by the noise. This might have a significant impact on your social life. Misophonia sufferers have been observed to develop anticipatory anxiety in settings they are likely to hear the sound again. They may even avoid eating with their friends and family altogether. This is a condition that wreaks havoc on the individual’s well-being, social relationahips, and family dynamics.
Causes of Misophonia
Misophonia was just given a name a few years ago, and it is not explicitly included in any medical manuals. Many doctors are unaware of it, and when patients describe their symptoms, they are frequently dismissed or diagnosed with different disorders.
While many misophonic people also suffer from anxiety or depression, this isn't always the case. Only a little research on the disorder's effects has been conducted. Because it is such a newly discovered condition, specialists are still debating whether it should be classified as its condition or a subset of another.
Because the disorder is so poorly understood, it's difficult for friends and family members of those who suffer from it to understand how severe the symptoms can be or even accept that it exists. Misophonia sufferers may experience additional distress as a result of this.
Ways you can manage Misophonia on your own
There are many more ways you can deal with the symptoms of misophonia than you would with help from your doctor.
Keep a record: Keep a record of your misophonia symptoms. It is essential to write down your triggers, what they do, and when it happens. It would help if you also wrote down how you felt, what made it worse and what made it better.
Talk to the people who are affecting you: Take the time to talk about your condition with the people who elicit the strongest emotions from you. It's essential to tell them that they should not take it personally. It just so happens that their sounds make you feel bad. Most family members want to make you as comfortable as possible, even if they sometimes forget or don't know what they're doing. Showing that you are grateful for them will make them more likely to help you out more often.
Use "positive sound association": This is a way to help lessen your brain’s focus on the sounds that affect you. Prior to the start of mealtime, incorporate various environmental sounds (i.e., rain, shower, waterfalls, crickets, white noise, etc.) along with soft music (i.e., smooth jazz, spa-like music, etc.) to help make the situation more pleasant. You want to focus your attention on those sounds, which can help relax you and shift the brain’s focus away from the trigger sounds.
You can also use tactile sensory activities at the table as well to engage another sensory pathway which will also occupy the brain and pull its attention away from the trigger sounds.
Dr. Novick at Silicon Valley Hearing can even introduce you to ear-level sound generators that can be worn at the dinner table to help add more sound to your auditory brain.
Misophonia is still a very new condition. Even though it affects you strongly, it doesn't mean that everyone else understands it yet.
Seek people who have had similar experiences: Another way to manage your symptoms is to read about other people's experiences and talk to people online or in person. You might also find some advice on better dealing with your symptoms. You'll also know that you aren't the only one with misophonia, which can be a huge relief.
We're on the Misophonia Provider Network
We're proud to be part of the Misophonia Provider Network. The Network connects people who have the disorder and those who study it to accurate and up-to-date information. We try to raise awareness and share the latest research to understand the condition better.
A test with us can give you a psychological boost to know that the symptoms are real and not just in your head. It can also add weight to your conversations with friends and family who might tell you that you're just making it up or misdiagnosing yourself. Knowledge is power and key to managing your condition.
Contact us today to set up an appointment!