PLEASE BE QUIET, OR HOW TO LIVE WITH MISOPHONIA

Have you ever heard anyone saying, “Stop chewing like a cow! I can’t stand it!”? Think this person is just a bag of nerves? Probably, he/she suffers from misophonia.

What is misophonia?

The term “misophonia” was coined in 2000. Meaning “hatred of sound,” it stands for a specific anxiety disorder. However, a sufferer doesn’t hate all sounds, or loud sounds in particular. In contrast, sounds, or “trigger sounds,” that make a misophonic feel a sharp pang of fury are usually quiet and soft. The problem is that misophonics can’t control their emotions or the response to a trigger sound that can range in intensity from mere discomfort to the fight-or-flight response. This can turn not only a misophonic’s life but the lives of other people – his/her family members, co-workers, or classmates – into a nightmare. Moreover, a misophonic is aware that his/her reaction is over-exaggerated and that other people don’t normally react to those sounds in a such a way.

What sounds does a misophonic hate?

There is a classification of trigger sounds that make a misophonic angry:
  • Eating sounds comprise everything from chewing and sipping to nail biting and lip smacking;
  • Breathing sounds include hiccups, snoring, or nose whistling;
  • Vocal sounds such as muffled talking, baby crying or whistling;
  • A misophonic can be sensitive to environmental sounds like pen clicking or cell phone ringtone;
  • Metal/plastic sounds such as rattling keys in pockets or water bottle squeezing can also provoke anger;
  • Car/home appliances sounds embrace everything from car doors slamming to the sound of an air conditioner;
  • Animal sounds include dog barking, crickets or bird sounds.

Is there a cure?

Since misophonia was discovered not so long ago, the condition hasn’t been explored thoroughly yet. However, there are several therapies that are believed to help people with misophonia:
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy was introduced by Professor Pawel Jastreboff who coined the term “misophonia.” During a session, a sufferer explores scientific mechanisms of misophonia therefore learning to live with misophonia and control his/her emotions;
  • Color noise is a therapeutic technique based on identifying a trigger sound with a color to mask it.
  • Abdominal breathing is a well-known technique that reduces stress and helps deal with panic attacks.
By and large, if you know someone who suffers from misophonia just ask him/her what you should do not to provoke unpleasant reactions.
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