Misophone is one of those symptoms that is invisible to almost all people. Those suffering from this affliction live in real torture with small situations that are irrelevant to others; for example, the sound produced by another person’s chewing, the sound of rain rustling, or the sound of writing with a pen.
The worst thing about this disorder is that many health professionals do not give enough recognition to those who suffer from misophonia. Indeed, these people are often unjustifiably branded as manic, bipolar, or schizophrenic.
Living with misophonia is a real test of strength, for, firstly, there are quite common misconceptions surrounding this problem and, secondly, people who suffer from it face stimuli in their daily lives that they simply cannot tolerate. Moreover, there is no single right treatment for this selective sensitivity to sounds.
What is misophony?
The term “misophone” means anger towards sound. It is a disorder in which a person makes disproportionate rejection reactions to normal daily noise. It is defined as a pathological form of acoustic sensitivity.
When a person suffering from this ailment hears certain sounds, he feels irritated and wants to shout or hit something, for example. Even just breathing or clicking a finger can cause anger, anxiety and panic in such a person.
Not all sufferers of misophony are sensitive to the same sounds. Food-related sounds, such as chewing, sucking, or swallowing, are usually the ones that bother you the most. However, other sounds can be just as annoying, such as the nativity of a chair or the rustle of a pen on paper.
Causes and symptoms of misophonia
Misophone was not recognized as a medical entity until the 1990s, but it is still not fully accepted as a disease by science to this day. Currently, few physicians consider themselves competent to diagnose misophonia.
All indications are that people with this disease have a neurological problem. According to the available data, these individuals exhibit abnormal activity in the anterior cerebral islet. Apparently, people with misophonia have abnormalities in the handling of emotions that a person perceives.
This problem is classified as a symptom, and not as a clinical entity per se. Misophone usually appears in late childhood, but on the other hand can occur at any age. Apart from extreme selective sound sensitivity and the anxiety it causes, no other visible symptoms have been found in this condition.
To date, medicine has not been able to define specific tests to determine whether someone is suffering from misophonia or not. Diagnosis can only be made on the basis of the reactions that an individual makes to certain sounds. Although certain noises and sounds can irritate many people, with the right diagnosis, an expert will be able to determine when it is a true misophony, as people with this disorder have completely disproportionate reactions to the level of noise or sound.
Living with misophonia
Misophone completely changes a person’s life. One of the first consequences is social exclusion and the loss of the support network of the close circle. Because a person suffering from misophonia usually does not tolerate everyday sounds produced by another person, he or she is forced to take distance from those close to him or her to avoid those sounds and the strong sense of anxiety that arises from the sounds.
The situation can be very overwhelming and prevent a person from working outside the home as this means exposure to endless sounds. The impossibility of eliminating everyday sounds such as computer keyboard sounds or another person’s breathing limits these people’s social integration to the situations around them.
People with this nasty and uncomfortable hassle sometimes choose to use headphones and listen to music all the time, for example, as most are not annoyed by the melodic sound produced by the music. This strategy allows them to distance themselves from their surroundings and noise. Some also resort to noise-canceling earplugs or even a helmet.
Is there anything that can be done about it?
There is currently no cure for misophony. However, research into this effort is underway around the world.
It is recommended that a person with misophonia strive to develop adaptive behavior; in other words, to resort to the development of strategies that do not require a person to be socially isolated and at the same time not to live in constant suffering. Psychotherapy is also a highly recommended method of treatment in these cases.
In addition to different strategies and psychotherapy, meditation and relaxation techniques can also help. These techniques provide effective tools for dealing with anxiety when negative emotions emerge. In addition, it is a good idea to discuss the matter with loved ones so that those close to you are up to date with the situation and understand what feelings and thoughts one is going through.