Selective Sound Sensitivity - Living With Someone With Misophonia
There's a lot of noises in this world. Every day we are bombarded with the sound of cars, airplanes, trains, loud music, constructions, etc. These are normal every day noises that we accustomed to. There are also other noises that to us are normal, but to people with misophonia, those sounds are deafening and hard to handle. It affects their whole being. Those normal sounds like: chewing, smacking of lips, sniffing, breathing and clearing of throat can trigger negative effect on a person. Also the way other people talk or pronounce words can trigger sound sensitivity to those with Misophonia.
What is Misophonia? Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses to the person who suffers from it. People with misophonia complained that the sound drives them crazy. People who have misophonia can become angry and annoyed when they hear the sound they hated. They also tend to panic and wanted to fee. Misophonia is also called Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome. They are bothered by other people's noise when eating, breathing and chewing. Also some people with misophonia hated the sound of keyboard tapping, windshield wipers, repetitive motion - fidgeting, jostling and wiggling.
Everyday normal noise can be bothersome to those who have misophonia. It's hard to explain why normal everyday sound can caused a lot of pain to those people who have that condition.
Allergic to my Breathing
Some time ago, my daughter developed an "allergic" reaction other peoples' breathing and sniffing. Every time she hears them she became stressed, annoyed, sad and frustrated. She feels like people were making those sounds to annoy her. It intensified when she was12 years old. At first we didn't understand why she did not want to eat with us or sit near near me. We did not know what was going on with her. She got upset when she heard my breathing and sniffing. I got upset too when she was upset with my normal noises! It was a struggle.
Every time my daughter hears my breathing and sniffing, she beg me to stop. She knows I cannot help it, but telling me is her way of coping. Expressing her annoyance gives her some relief.
Misophonia causes a lot of tension to family and anger to those people who are suffering. I never heard of sound sensitivity before that is why I had hard time dealing with it when it first happened.
There were not enough information about this condition when she was just starting to be bothered by my breathing. I could not understand what was going on with my daughter. I could not understand why she was acting that way when she heard me breathe. Her doctor did not know about misophonia. She was puzzled about this condition. Thanks to Google we now have a lot of information about misophonia.
People with Misophonia could not help that they hate those trigger sounds people make. Every time they hear a trigger noise, their body reacted negatively to it. Misophonia makes someone's life miserable. People struggling with it need understanding.
Breathing and Sniffing Go Away!
My daughter described how she feels when she hears trigger sounds. She said that her body feels like thousands of needles were poking all over her body. That her spine were tingling. It hurts her ears and she cannot not stand listening to those sounds. She became mad at the sound, even mad at those people making noises. The noise can create a terrible effect in her body. It's so bad that every time she hears them, she feesl like screaming really loud. Her body jerks when the sound comes all of the sudden.
The sensation we fell when someone is scratching the chalkboard with a long nails cannot compare to how it feels when she hears the trigger noises. She feels like screaming or throwing things. it's so bad that she feels like her whole body shakes.
During her high school years, she ate at her room. But if we had company she had to eat with us because she did not want them to know about her condition. Now she is more open to discuss it with her friends. Sometimes it hurts when friends does not understand how it feels to have misophonia. They even make fun of it. They don't know how devastating it is to a person suffering from it. The sad thing is, there's no known cure for misophonia.The sufferer should learn how to cope and live with it.
Misophonia is Hard to Cope at School
My daughter has to endure listening to trigger sounds at school. She cannot concentrate sometimes because there were people that breathe heavily and sniff continuously in her class. She's having difficulty hearing her teacher because of the trigger sounds of her classmates. Thank God she was able to finished high school with honors. It was not easy, but by the grace of God she made it.
She is having a tougher time now in college. Misophonia overwhelms her most of the time. Sometimes she doesn't feel like going to school. But she forces herself because she does not want to miss her classes. I feel deeply sad for my daughter. If only I can take this condition from her and transfer it to me. I would rather suffer instead of her.
White Noise to Help Cope with Misophonia
The white noise machine above, helps my daughter concentrate when she's studying. It blocks some noise especially my breathing and sniffing. It lower the trigger sounds. She also use it when sleeping at night. It's been helpful to her.
During the first semester in college, she brought it to school and asked her Statistic Professor during the test to allow her to use it to block the sniffing of one of her classmates. She explained to the professor about her condition. The Professor was kind enough to let her listen to the white sound while taking a test. Hopefully, she still will be allowed to use it this semester.
My daughter brings stress ball to school. She squeeze the stress ball when she hear trigger noises. She said it does not help with the body sensation, but at least she has something to squeeze to release the tension out of her body.
Tested by the Audiologist
We went to the audiologist to consult about our daughter's condition. We all agreed that a good custom made ear plugs might do the trick. We are still waiting for the ear plugs.
The audiologist checked my daughter's hearing. My daughter has a very sharp hearing with negative 10 decibel. That's why she can hear those annoying sounds so loud.
We are hoping that the ear plugs will help her at school. Maybe to minimize the loudness of the trigger sounds and might lower the intensity of the effect. We are hoping that Misophonia will be under control soon.
Updated March 3, 2020
My daughter started to use the earplugs from the audiologist. It seems to help block some trigger sounds. We were able to eat dinner and she did not complain about my breathing. She still hear them but the intensity is not as strong as before. I am happy that the earplugs are working good now. It took four returns to the manufacturer for it to work properly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Lorna