If everyday noises like a dripping tap or someone chewing or clicking a pen makes you irritated or panic, you might suffer from misophonia.
What is misophonia?
Miso- (hatred) phonia (sound) means strong reactions to selective sounds. It is not to be confused with hyperacusis where sound is perceived as abnormally loud or physically painful. Hyperacusis and misophonia are both disorders related to “decreased sound tolerance”. However, hyperacusis is a condition in which auditory information is unbearably loud. In misophonia, it is repeating (or patterned sounds) which are intolerable.
Individuals with misophonia are set off or “triggered” by very specific patterned sounds, such as chewing, coughing, pencil tapping, sneezing etc.
What causes misophonia?
Misophonia is a neurological disorder in which auditory (and sometimes visual) stimuli are misinterpreted within the central nervous system. However, misophonia and what causes misophonia is still something of a mystery.
Although people may have suffered from misophonia for many years, it has only been recognized as a medical condition since the 1990's.
Symptoms of misophonia
The symptoms of misophonia - strong reactions to selective sounds - often appear in late childhood but its onset can be seen at any age. It usually starts with a single trigger-sound. More sounds are then added to the list of triggers.
Many people ask for or search for a misophonia test or at test of the symptoms of misophonia. But misophonia is best identified by the individual’s reactions to certain sounds. This can be identified by counselling e.g. by the family doctor or by other professionals. If a person has a strong reaction to certain sounds, he or she might suffer from misophonia. We all have certain sounds that we don’t like or react to without having misophonia, but some people react very strongly. Therefore, it is always a good idea to talk to a professional to discuss if the strong reactions to sounds might be misophonia.
Treatment of misophonia
Currently, there is no cure or treatment for misophonia. Your doctor can however refer you to different kinds of therapy. Even just to talk about your condition might be helpful.
Living with misophonia
While some try to mask the trigger-sounds with music, others simply try to avoid them. Depending on the severity, it can have serious consequences for people with misophonia. The condition might keep patients from building-up relationships, engaging in social activities or even leaving the house.
People suffering from misophonia often feel alienated and misunderstood because others might write them off as hysterical or overly-sensitive. Often it helps to see a doctor to get a diagnosis as proof that you are not just making it up. Your doctor can refer you to different kinds of therapy. Even just to talk about your condition might be helpful.
Sources: www.dukescience.org/content/misophonia and