Chewing. Lip smacking. Sniffling. Gum popping. Pen clicking. These are sounds that most of us encounter every day. Yes, they can be bothersome but they mostly go unnoticed. Yet to some people these sounds can be enraging, much beyond simple annoyance. To someone with misophonia, it is wanting to yell at the top of your lungs because your brother is chewing in another room. It is wanting to be physically violent towards your classmate because she is sniffling every few seconds. If this sounds familiar, you might have misophonia.
At Hearing and Tinnitus Center, our Doctors of Audiology understand how this condition can impact your emotional health and how it may challenge your ability to achieve academic and professional goals. We are committed to helping you manage your sound sensitivity in ways that make sense for you.
What is Misophonia?
Misophonia, or Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome (4S), has been described as neurophysiologic condition in which soft and repetitive auditory sounds elicit a strong emotional response. These sounds are referred to as “triggers” and may be auditory as well as visual. The difference for someone with misophonia is that they cannot easily or passively ignore these sounds. Instead these trigger sounds are considered highly disturbing and may result in panic, rage, anger, distress and/or activation of the fight or flight response. Living in a quiet world is ideal to someone with this sound sensitivity. As a result, people who have misophonia tend to isolate themselves to avoid triggers at all costs regardless of the impact it may have on relationships with family or friends.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
If you are experiencing obstacles in your life because of misophonia, help is available. There is no current cure for misophonia; however, there are ways to manage the emotional impact of this condition. These management techniques will reduce anxiety, distress, and contribute to an improvement in every day living. Using a combination of sound enrichment, coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and environmental modifications, our Doctors of Audiology will outline a specialized treatment plan for you. We will suggest accommodations for academic and professional settings to optimize your experience so you do not have to feel anxious about entering certain environments. Additionally, our Doctors of Audiology may recommend consultation with other healthcare providers, including psychologists, who are skilled in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other targeted emotional management practices.