Consider this: you’ve just climbed into your cosy bed after a long day. You’re ready to fall asleep when your roomie starts snoring. His rumbling snores are audible, barely disguised by a thin wall, and each rhythmic snore gets louder and louder. You can’t hear anything else. Your heart starts racing, your blood boils, and you can feel the rage, aggravation, and contempt rising deep in your stomach. You try to rest, but the annoyance grows into wrath. Even with earplugs on, the snoring can be heard.
Irritation turns to wrath, and you feel overwhelmed. It develops into terror. You appear to have tried it all to deal with this situation. You might start having violent dreams about silencing him in this uncontrolled frenzy. You wish you could punch him in the face. You’re consumed by wrath, and you’ll go to silence it.
Consider having that same burning panic and wrath while having a nice meal or alone with your partner. Consider explaining this unexpected shift in conduct to your family, coworkers, and acquaintances.
That’s how it feels when you have misophonia. Unpleasant sounds cause problems for everybody, whether it’s a dog barking or a baby wailing. That’s flawlessly typical. What is not typical is when this occurs daily or hourly, interfering with your life. This is when severe misophonia develops.
If you know somebody who suffers from misophonia, we hope this post provides you with a better understanding of the condition.
What exactly is Misophonia?
Misophonia is a syndrome in which a person’s sensitivity to sounds is excessive. Other people’s noises, like chewing or tapping a pencil, typically trigger sounds. Whenever misophonia sufferers hear certain noises, they become agitated or irritated. Specific individuals suffering from this condition will leave the room to evade the annoying sounds, while others may become enraged.
Misophonia is characterized by disturbance elicited by a variety of noises. Other sounds that cause misophonia include slurping, crushing, mouth noises, tongue snapping, whimpering, hammering, joint cracking, nail trimming, and the famed nails on the blackboard.
The human body generates the majority of noises that cause misophonia; however, some misophonics are irritated by sounds made by lifeless items, such as the tapping of a tv remote or the whirling of a motor; irritation is generally not as intense. Individuals with misophonia, strangely enough, do not get irritated when they make the same sounds.
If you have misophonia, you may find that making the same tone does not usually elicit any response. Some misophonia sufferers discover that imitating the triggering noises can help them cope with the anguish they bring.
A physical reaction to the sounds that set off the alarm
Once misophonia sufferers are subjected to the inciting sounds, it turns out that they experience real physiological repercussions. Physical reactions involve quantifiable autonomic responses, which are not present in a control group, according to the few investigations on the physiology of this illness.
Misophonia comes in various degrees of intensity, exacerbated by stress. Obsessive-compulsive disorders and generalized anxiety disorder are comorbid illnesses; however, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not.
Although the specific origins of misophonia are unknown, many factors may play a role.
- Brain chemistry: Some study suggests that patients with misophonia have more connectivity between the anterior insular cortex (AIC) and the auditory cortex, which is crucial for emotional regulation.
- Other mental conditions: Misophonia is more common in persons with OCD, Tourette syndrome, and anxiety disorders.
- Tinnitus: People with tinnitus, a disorder in which people hear noises that no one else can perceive, are more likely to develop misophonia.
- Genetics: Misophonia runs in families; thus, there is certainly a hereditary component that raises the likelihood of acquiring the condition.
Despite the heightened understanding of misophonia, research on the condition is scarce, with most data coming from tiny investigations and case studies. According to some research, the prevalence of misophonia is substantially higher than specialists, yet most individuals only experience minor symptoms for which they do not seek therapy.
The Sensation of Misophonia
You might be wondering how misophonia can bring so much pain if you don’t have it. Consider how you react when you hear a sound you despise to understand this syndrome better. One typical application is fingernail scraping a blackboard. A car alarm or a crying baby are two examples of other sounds. Your skin may tingle as tensions flare when you hear those sounds. You want it to end right now.
If you don’t have misophonia, you’ll only notice this behaviour due to sounds that most individuals find bothersome. Furthermore, because others may have a similar reaction, expressing your dissatisfaction or disgust will likely be straightforward.
Individuals with misophonia get that sensation on a frequent, if not daily, reaction that most persons ignore. Understanding that most others would consider their response severe can make it difficult to share how they feel. This can exacerbate their loneliness and misery.
Most persons who suffer from misophonia know that their degree of irritation is excessive and want to minimize their symptoms. Leaving the room, donning headphones, or discovering a technique to drown out the noise are systematic self-treatment methods.
Self-distraction is a more sophisticated and challenging method of coping with symptoms. It is simpler to exercise distraction when one’s stress level is low, and the noises are not as aggravating. Part misophonia sufferers cope with their distress by imitating the irritating sounds, which appear to de-empower the sounds while also permitting an adequate venting of some of the irrational wrath.
Living with Misophonia
There is presently no cure for misophonia; however, treatments are available to help you manage your condition.
Tinnitus retraining therapy
Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear sounds that no one else can listen to, such as ringing in your ears. Tinnitus reconditioning therapy was created to help individuals who suffer from tinnitus adapt to embrace and tolerate the sounds they hear. It can also assist misophonia sufferers in learning to cope with trigger sounds.
This therapy combines a lesser sound trigger with pleasant sensations, such as a favourite track, a picture of a beloved one, or a calming touch. This treatment assisted a misophonia patient in minimizing her reactivity to auditory stimuli in a 2015 research study.
Whenever you encounter a trigger, your default coping strategy might be to leave the room, but you may not always do so. You could also try:
- headphones with noise cancellation
- Music, peaceful sounds, or white noise can all help you relax.
- Use a relaxing mantra or affirmation to divert your attention.
- Requesting the individual causing the noise to please cease.
Rain, nature, and other such noises have proven to be very successful, with up to 85% of users reporting alleviation from their symptoms.
Therapy with a qualified mental health practitioner provides a secure environment to discuss the distress misophonia creates. You can discover helpful techniques to manage the issue through treatment.
Having a strategy in hand for whenever you feel an episode is on the horizon, such as leaving the room or using a relaxation method like deep breathing or visualization, is an excellent starting point.
It may also be beneficial to speak with others about your problem. People would be more likely to forgo certain sounds in your presence, such as chewing gum or whistling if they know that they may cause a negative sensation.