Misophonia - Facts and Treatment
Can Not Stand That Noise!
What is Misophonia
Misophonia is described as hypersensitivity to background sounds or visual stimuli that is usually ignored by most people. This word actually means “hatred of sound.” American neuroscientists, Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, coined this term in 1991.
An individual with Misophonia does not have the ability to block out the offending noises or triggers, and they have an acute emotion response when they come into contact with one of these triggers. The triggers are usually connected to breathing or eating.
The most frequently cited objectionable sounds include lip smacking, chewing, swallowing, breathing, teeth or silverware clinking, plate scraping, paper tearing, fingernail biting, computer mouse clicking, or low pitched hums of electrical circuits or machines.
Each offending sound can lead to an extreme reaction. The offending sounds actually stimulates the “fight or flight response”, and the triggers often lead to extreme, blood-boiling rage. People with this condition know their response is irrational, yet they are unable to control their response.
If you think you might have this disorder, take the simple test on the Misophonia Institute website.
Selective Sound Sensitivity - Unknown Cause
This is such a newly recognized condition and a rare syndrome that many doctors are unaware of its existence. Misophonia is also referred to as Selective Sound Sensitivity, SSSS, 4S, and a few other names. It is not the same thing as Hyperacusis, as that is a condition that makes people sensitive to all sounds.
No one is born with this disorder, but there can be a genetic predisposition. The condition typically begins in young children about the age of 10 to 12. The pattern between different people is strikingly consistent. Obviously a child does not wake up one morning and decide "I think I will let the sound of chewing gum drive me nuts today".
Aage R. Moller, a University of Texas neuroscientist, states he has determined that this condition is hard-wired, the same way a person might be right or left handed, therefore, it is not an auditory problem but a physiological abnormality.
Different reactions to triggers can include rage, panic attack, loss of cognition, physical itching or crawling sensations and a strong urge to flee or fight. Sometimes people make some vocalizations in response to their triggers; others wear earplugs to block provocation.
There may be a gradual onset or a sudden one. It is not a psychological disorder, but a physiological one. These is no problem with the auditory pathway in the brain, but the strong reaction originates in the limbic (the emotional system in the brain) and the autonomic nervous system. These systems are both connected to the auditory system, which is responsibility for hearing.
Kelly and Regis
Kelly Ripa admitted she believes she has this condition during an episode of "Live! With Regis and Kelly". She stated that since childhood the sound of chewing “drives her nuts”. She trained her children to eat quietly with their mouths closed. She further stated that if her husband eats a peach she has to leave the house.
There is no known cure for Misophonia. Many people go from doctor to doctor and get a variety of diagnoses that are not correct.
There are a few treatments that have helped some people:
- One is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), which is a type of tolerance therapy designed to help people with tinnitus by helping the patient become used to a low level disturbing sound.
- Cognitive Behavior is designed to help people change their negative thinking and any behavior that might contribute to their condition. They emphasis eating a good diet and exercising to reduce stress, plus monitoring the thought process can also be helpful.
- Psycho-therapeutic hypnotherapy utilized hypnosis to teach people to respond differently to their triggers,’
- Sometimes anti-anxiety medications may have a positive impact.
- Neurofeedback, which is brain wave feedback, is also being tested.
- Some people use ear plugs or white noise devises to block the triggers.
There are a few support forums where hundreds of people come together to share experience. One of the effects of having this condition is a tendency to isolate; therefore, a support group is very therapeutic.
My Life With Misophonia
I don't know anyone that has Misophonia, and there is really no way to know the number of people that suffer from this condition since it is so often misdiagnosed. Frequently it is labeled in one of the psychiatric disorders, unfortunately.
This condition causes a lot of anguish for the person that has the condition, as well as, their family. Some of the treatments have helped at least to some degree, but as of right, now there is no cure.