You may suffer from misophonia, which literally translates to “hatred of sounds.” Some sounds – like nails on a chalkboard – make most people cringe or squirm with displeasure. But if an everyday sound (breathing, chewing, sniffing, tapping) triggers an intensely negative reaction for you, misophonia may be to blame. If a specific sound incites your anger, causes you to avoid certain situations, or compromises your mental health, we encourage you to explore treatment for misophonia.
What Is Misophonia?
Although misophonia literally translates to “hatred of sounds,” this alone does not substantiate a diagnosis. You may hate the sound of a fork scraping against a plate, but that doesn’t mean you suffer from misophonia. Similarly, just because you find a sound annoying or cringeworthy, that doesn’t mean you have misophonia.
Misophonia vs. Hyperacusis
Although both involve a decreased acceptance of sounds, misophonia is distinct from hyperacusis. Where misophonia involves a negative reaction to particular sounds, hyperacusis involves a negative reaction to sound due to particular characteristics. Someone who experiences hyperacusis may be sensitive to sounds of a certain volume, type, or intensity.
Treatments for Misophonia
Misophonia is best treated with a multidisciplinary approach (i.e., primary care physician, psychology, audiology). As Audiologists, we specialize in helping to rewire the auditory portion of the brain while calming the nervous system using prescriptive sound therapy. Over time, the ultimate goal of sound therapy is to help neutralize the trigger sounds so that the reflex response to them no longer occurs. Most patients without underlying damage to their auditory system can totally stop the misophonic reactions to their trigger sounds post-treatment. Careful guidance is needed by an experienced professional to help in this process.
Furthermore, a critical component to the success of treatment for misophonia is not only to have a team-based approach but to also have a support system (i.e., family) that understands the complex process of rewiring the brain and nervous system. Progress with treatment does not happen overnight, but with patience, motivation, and a positive attitude, progress can absolutely be achieved. The duration of treatment varies based on the patient’s complexity of symptoms, but benefits should begin within the first few weeks of treatment when the recommended protocols are followed.
The first step is to rule out any medical condition or disorder that may be contributing to misophonia. Discussion about misophonia with a primary care physician will lead to proper referrals for testing.
Once any diagnostic results have been received, schedule a consultation with one of our Audiologists to discuss your case further. We will then know how we can help!
At Sound Relief, we only work with adults with misophonia. Patients under the age of 18 are best served by working with a multidisciplinary team (audiology, family counseling, psychiatry, etc.) within one organization (i.e. Children’s Hospital).