Why You Hate that Sound; Understanding Misophonia.
We all have pet peeves; from people who drive too slow to anyone who talks during movies. From a simple perspective, misophonia is oversensitivity to audible pet peeves, though it is a bit more complex than that. It is important to understand Misophonia to have more sympathy for people truly affected by the disorder, and to avoid misdiagnosing yourself.
What is Misophonia?
In the literal translation, misophonia is the hatred of sound. While there are cases of people with migraines who hate all sound, this is usually temporary until their symptoms go away. Cases of misophonia surround certain sounds experienced repeatedly, and the effect is always the same.
Think of the effect of someone chewing loudly at a meal, or a pen repeatedly clicking in the cubicle next to you. Many people do not notice these actions at all, but for others, this repeated noise would set them off. These people have classically been told they have auditory sensitivities. Researchers are now looking into why this happens, and what the signs and symptoms are for people with Misophonia.
How Misophonia Affects People
The sound sensitivity that causes misophonia is not across the board. Actually, different sound events trigger misophonics differently. Where one person may be set off by lip smacking while talking, another may hate the way a keyboard sounds as their coworker types throughout the day.
The effects of this are puzzling scientists. It seems that these sound events trigger the fight or flight response in misophonics. This means that these triggering sounds are mistaken for danger by the person’s mind. This may be due to the fact that the repetitive motion is a type of stimulus overload for the brain, so it responds with fear. This causes many symptoms in the body.
The symptoms of misophonia can actually be very stressing on the body and brain, and include:
- Fear and panic
- Anger with no known source (other than the noise)
- Rage that comes on quickly
- Emotional distress
- Feeling uneasy or restless; needing to escape
- Skin crawling, hair standing on end
- Heightened anxiety
This is all in response to common triggering factors. There are many triggers as well, including:
- Tapping (pens, fingers, etc.)
- Many repetitive sounds
- Visual stimuli such as leg shaking, body swaying, and other repetitive motions.
Don’t Diagnose Yourself with Misophonia
It is important to understand that misophonia is a chronic disorder. This means it is long lasting, and does not happen every once in a while. If you are having a bad day at work and then start yelling at a woman on the bus for how she laughs, this is not misophonia. This is displaced aggression.
Misophonia is an inescapable reality for many people and causes a lot of emotional and mental stress. If you feel you may have misophonia, talk to your doctor about treatment methods. There are many behavioral therapies available; as well as ways to reduce the stress stored in your body, such as chiropractic care.
Please add a comment to Share your story and experience with Misophonia.
-Dr. Ryan Curda
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