For those living with misophonia, completely everyday situations can become unbearable if they do not use appropriate strategies to deal with them. This rare problem is not even considered an official disease. live with misophony.
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Misophony is one of the conditions that remains invisible to almost everyone who is not directly affected by it. Those who are forced to live with misophony go through an absolute torture because of insignificant sounds that most others do not even notice. Some examples might be the sound of someone chewing gum, raindrops slamming against a window or a pencil scratching at a piece of paper.
What makes the situation even worse is that many in healthcare completely ignore the complaints from those with this condition. They tend to classify these patients as psychotically unstable, bipolar, or schizophrenic.
Living with misophony is no small feat. These individuals must not only cope with the suffering they experience when living with these constant, extreme stimuli, they must also face the general lack of understanding of the problem. There is currently no treatment available for this selective hypersensitivity to sound.
What is misophonia?
The term misophony simply means “hatred of sound”. It refers to a disorder in which the individual expresses a disproportionate aversion as a reaction to everyday sounds. It is defined as a pathological form of acoustic hypersensitivity.
When people with this disorder hear certain sounds, they experience irritation and a desire to scream or hit something. So common sounds, like the sound of someone’s breath, can give them emotions such as anger, anxiety and panic.
Not all people with misophonia are sensitive to the same types of sounds. The most common triggers have to do with food – swallowing, smacking and chewing, etc. Annoying sounds like a cracking chair or someone drumming with their fingers can also be triggers.
Living with misophonia: causes and symptoms
Misophony was first recognized as a medical problem in the 1990s. But in medical science, this is not yet accepted as a disease. To date, few doctors are competent in diagnosing a person with misophonia.
Everything seems to indicate that the people suffering from this disease have some underlying neurological problem. According to available research, these individuals show abnormal activity in the anterior insular lobe. Experts believe that there is an anomaly in the processing of emotions, derived from how they perceive sound.
This problem is cataloged as a symptom more than a clinical condition in itself. It tends to make itself felt already in childhood, but there are also cases of misophonia that occur later in life. Apart from the extreme, selective sensitivity to sound and the anxiety that this causes, there are no other visible manifestations of this condition.
There are no specific tests that can determine if a person is suffering from misophonia or not. The diagnosis is rather a result of observing the individual’s reaction to different sounds. Although many people who do not have misophonia may feel disgusted by certain sounds, those who live with misophonia show disproportionately strong reactions.
Misophony completely changes the life of the disabled person. One of the first consequences is social isolation and loss of support from relatives and family. Depending on the severity of the intolerance to everyday sounds, the patient may need to isolate himself from others to avoid extreme discomfort and anxiety. This is especially true because the discomfort almost always has to do with sounds that another person produces.
The situation can be very tiring and prevents these individuals from working outside the home as it exposes them to constant noise. The inability to filter out sounds, such as the clicks of the keys on the keyboard or the breaths of others, limits their opportunities for a social life.
Those who live with misophonia sometimes choose to wear headphones and listen to music all the time, as most people do not have problems with music. This allows them to distance themselves from the sound in their surroundings. In the same way, you can use earplugs, noise-canceling headphones or noise-canceling helmets.
Is there anything that can be done for people with dysphonia?
There is currently no treatment for misophonia. However, there are several studies on this topic.
In the meantime, the patient should work on developing an adaptive behavior. In other words, explore and practice strategies that prevent the need for social isolation. Psychotherapy can be especially helpful in these cases.
Relaxation exercises and meditation techniques can also be helpful. They offer effective tools to overcome anxiety when it occurs. Whatever the case, it is important that these individuals talk to their closest friends and family members so that they can become aware of the condition and develop a better understanding of it.