Living with Extreme Sound SensitivityIf you feel disgusted to the point of rage when you hear the sound of chewing, swallowing, breathing, throat-clearing and other common “people” noises, you’re not alone. You’re also not crazy. Misophonia is a sound sensitivity disorder, which makes certain noises intolerable to the sufferer.

Although this condition is primarily neurological, the experience of these sounds can cause psychological distress. The term misophonia was developed by Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, American neuroscientists. Literally translated, it means “hatred of sounds.”

12 Comments to
Living with Extreme Sound Sensitivity

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  1. A great, informative article that is much appreciated in the wake of ill-informed, sensationalistic journalism of late. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for providing more awareness for Misophonia. You must be aware that many people with Misophonia are going to start taking magnesium supplements which may or may not be harmful to them.
    Although your science is lacking and misleading and you tout treatments/techniques to “help dial back the symptoms” which have not been effective at all, you have nevertheless provided a great public service.
    And I thank you.

  3. Misophonia is a poorly understood and little studied disorder. It may actually be much more common than you suggest. There is no research I have seen that actually evaluates any therapy and some of the suggested therapies such as chelation may be dangerous. Occupational therapy involving sensory integration has not been supported in research for treatment of “sensory integration” problems commonly observed in some groups such as people with autism spectrum disorders. Misophonia may actually represent a conditioned reflex and be treatable with a behavioral approach although research on this approach is yet to be done.

    • I have been doing research on treating misophonia as a conditioned reflex response for the past year. I see some patients that respond well to a new counterconditioning treatment. At this time I am preparing for an official study of this and another new treatment procedure. In searching for treatments that have been effective, the results are very erratic (what works for one, does not work for many others). There is still much to be learned.

  4. Thank you for raising awareness of this issue. I have misophonia myself and I would like to advise any other people who believe they may have the disorder to come and join the support forums on Facebook and read about some of the treatments that have been tried to date. There is no cure for this disorder but the treatments listed above may be of limited use to some misophonia patients. Personally I have tried CBT and found it quite helpful. I would advise caution when seeking treatments as there are charlatans out there who will try to fleece you. Search for our support forums: key words Misophonia Support or Sound Sensitivity Disorder. We have hundreds of members from all over the world. Misophonia is much more common than you might imagine. Benefit from advice from people who have your interests at heart and are already supporting one another, and research, for free. 😁

  5. People with Misophonia will tell you plainly that it is a genetic mis-wiring in the brain. They will also tell you that tens-of-thousands of dollars and many years have been spent chasing therapies and treatments which haven’t helped anyone.
    Those newly-self-diagnosed people will be flocking to get help and are vulnerable right now. Please refrain from providing veiled “facts” for treatments that have no track record of working.
    The claims above that Treatment A/and Treatment B do not work and Treatment C should work if there was more research is based on no science at all.

  6. Sound therapy is not a new procedure of healing. It has evolved since the ancient times. Many ancient civilizations used Sound healing. This process of healing with sound has developed more and more with researches of various sound frequencies that help in healing many ailments.
    Tibetan Singing bowls and Tibetan Himalayan bowls are a very ancient process of healing with sounds. For many diseases it is undoubtedly good. But sound therapy has now become more precise after the researches of many more healing sound frequencies for various diseases.

    Sound therapy is a blend of different sound formulas which are produced by many sound emitting tools which can heal diseases as common as cold to as difficult to cure diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.

    Sound therapy is effective in curing cancer effectively and rapidly. It can also assist in healing if the patient is under any medical treatment for Acute Sinusitis.

  7. The blog is riddled with inaccuracies.

    1) Many people with the disorder experience anger and rage without concomitant disgust

    2) Misophonia, coined by the Jastreboffs, is actually a misnomer. The disorder also includes visual and olfactory triggers, in addition to auditory triggers.

    3) While the vast majority of sufferers experience rage as their primary emotional response, there is no empirical or anecdotal evidence that people feel an uncontrollable urge to strike the person making the noise. It is both irresponsible and unethical to state this as fact.

    4) Mimicking the sound is not echolalia (described in the autism literature), —it might actually be a palliative response.

    5) With the exception of CBT, all the other therapies you have noted are ineffective and inappropriate in the treatment of misophonia.

  8. I am 50 years of age and have recently seemed develop or become more aware of this disorder. I seem to become particularly enraged with sounds such as doors being open and shut in what to me seems to be done in an unneccesarily loud and frequent manner. However I have noticed that I go out of my way to walk and open and shut doors very quietly. I also need to have access to a personal space where I can control sound levels and can enforce silence. If I coulld not have this I don’t know what wouldbecome of me. I was a victim of a home invasion in 09 in which my fiance was shot. I am glad to know I am not a freak.

  9. I am surprised that no one mention how this syndrome affect family members etc. My son suffers from Misophonia and he is currently living with me. To put it mildly – it’s hell. If I clear my throat he runs out of the room holding his ears. At the dinner table he sits facing away from the rest of the diners, with a constant look of disgust. If you dare point out that he himself makes certain noises he gets furious. I realize that he cannot help his condition, and that there is no effective cure. I fear for his future,

  10. I believe that I have misophonia and it’s so comforting to know I’m not alone. I’m 15. I started noticing the problem around 12 years old. I can not hear chewing, crunching, snoring, my moms breathing, and more. I feel angry and I cry when I hear those noises. I usually close my ears and say please stop and my family almost always makes fun. And worse, they chew/smack or breath heavy on PURPOSE. They don’t understand. One of my favorite sayings is; I can tell you something 100 times but you won’t understand until you experience it once. They just don’t get it. I told my mom tonight that I want to see a physchologist. I want to be better. I can’t let this control my life. I’m praying for everyone suffering from this disorder. Xoxo

    • Emma,

      Your post struck a chord with me. I’m 58 and I could have written your post at age 15. It is so hard to love your family so much and be so irritated by them that your skin crawls. As a child I would make up an excuse to leave the table at meal time, pretending to watch tv while lying on my stomach with my ears plugged to avoid the sounds.

      In college, I almost got beat up after becoming so exasperated with someone’s loud gum chewing in a lecture that I finally turned around and said, “Would you stop chewing with your mouth open??!!! It’s obnoxious!” And, yes, I said it with intensity and anger.

      In my late 20′s I learned to own my own problem and say something to people like, “I realize this is my problem, not yours: I have a problem with mouth sounds like gum chewing. It would really help me if you did not chew your gum, and if that’s a problem, I understand and I will have to leave the room.”

      Later in my life, my elderly mother came to live with me. At dinner, I would sneak earplugs to soften the sound of her loud chewing because the last thing I wanted was to hurt her feelings. My family knew what I was doing and we all laughed about it, with them teasing me by talking softly or louder depending on whether or not they wanted me to hear them.

      I only learned about misophonia when reading a Readers Digest article called “Normal or Nuts” last year, and even that article said something like “might be nuts”. Having a sense of humor and being open and honest with people has really helped.

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