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Selective Sound Sensitivity - Living With Someone With Misophonia

Updated on March 9, 2020
LornsA178 profile image

Lorna is a Christian homeschooled mom and homemaker. Someone in her family is dealing with Misophonia.

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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!

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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.

The more I read about misophonia, the more I understand how it feels. I learned to understand my daughter and try to help her cope with this disorder.

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

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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.


Stress Balls

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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.

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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

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    • LornsA178 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna 

      4 months ago from USA

      Hello Brenda, sorry it took me a while to answer your comment. I was not able to visit here for a long time. Too much health issues. The machine helps but she could not bring it all the time. She is also using an ear bud to cancel some noise. I hope we can find a cure for this disorder. Thanks!

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      6 months ago from Washington Court House

      Just wondering if the machind helped out any. The one that cancels out the noise.

      I hope she is doing better.

      This is a hard thing to deal with.

    • LornsA178 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna 

      12 months ago from USA

      Brenda, I hope and pray that it will shrink and will be gone completely. Thank you vey much for writing back! I wish you all the best too!

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      12 months ago from Washington Court House

      Lorna,

      Thank you for being concerned.

      I have known about it since 2006 and am very fortunate so far.

      Yes, it can be dangerous as it grows.

      I have had gamma knife surgery which is radiation trying to shrink it. I will find out in April.

      It has recently caused balance issues and a few other things but I manage quite well and even drive.

      Looking forward to it shrinking...I don't really want to have surgery.

      And yes...Earplugs can be a Godsend.

      Wishing you all the best.

    • LornsA178 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna 

      12 months ago from USA

      Hi Brenda, Thank you very much for your nice comment and kind words. We got the ear plugs we ordered from the audiologist. It seems to lessen the intensity of the trigger noises. We are happy it's working. Sorry to hear about your menogioma brain tumor that effected your hearing. I never heard about memogioma tumor, is it not dangerous? Thanks again for your time Brenda!

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      12 months ago from Washington Court House

      Lorna,

      What a wonderful article to help educate the world.

      I have never heard if this condition. My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

      It shows her tremendous strength and great attitude to keep going. Maybe her studies could give her special ways to take exams and such. I just cannot imagine her daily struggle. I am glad she is a fighter.

      Noises bother me at times. Especially when trying to sleep or when I hear the constant noise in my right ear. I have a menogioma brain tumor that has affected hearing in one ear.

      Windshield wipers also bother me...the noise and seeing the rhythm.

      Each day seems different as far as noises...sometimes it is loud ones...other times it is those you can barely hear like a clock ticking. No battery operated clocks that tick in my house.

      I am proud of you and your family for taking the time to learn all you can about this condition. Stay strong and always remember love.

      Sending you and your daughter blessings.

      Thanks for this incredible share.

    • LornsA178 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorna 

      12 months ago from USA

      Thank you Lorna! You are always here to comment on my new articles. I appreciate your kind words. Misophonia can paralyze a person. I am hoping and praying that the ear plugs with help my daughter. Thank you very much Lorna!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      12 months ago

      I have never heard of this condition Lorna and it sounds unbearable. I do have a friend who suffers with 'tinnitus' which is a ringing in the ears, however, this is much worse. More research into these conditions needs to be carried out, as well as awareness programs. Your daughter is very brave in continuing with her studies considering how difficult it must be. I wish her well and thank you for drawing attention to this condition Lorna. An excellent article.

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