Misophonia: When Silence is Golden

Do you catch yourself getting extremely angry when hearing someone chew food with their mouth open? Does being around another person whistling make you very annoyed? When another person clears their throat, do you feel so much discomfort that you desire to leave the room? If so, you might feel confused about your strong reaction to what so many others find trivial. Furthermore, if certain sounds elicit a negative emotional response, you may be suffering from misophonia.

So what exactly is this little-known condition? Less than 200,000 people per year report feeling moderate annoyance to full-fledged panicked in regards to certain “trigger” sounds. While there are countless “trigger” sounds, the main ones fall into seven categories. Below are a few examples from each category.

  • Mouth and Eating: Gum chewing and popping, wet mouth sounds, slurping, nail biting
  • Breathing/Nasal: Yawning, hiccups, sniffling, grunting
  • Vocal: Humming, words like “um” or “ah” used repetitively, singing, whispering
  • Environmental: Pen clicking, water bottle squeezing, TV through walls, dogs barking
  • Body Movement related: Finger snapping, knuckle cracking, tapping, eye blinking
  • Visual (not necessarily sound related): Hair twirling, leg shaking, fidgetingHaving such a strong aversion to selective sounds can be difficult to deal with around coworkers, family, friends, and loved ones.

Sometimes trigger sounds can be so overwhelming to the sufferer that they leave the room, get furious or upset with the person making the noise, or have a panic attack. Also, since there is not much awareness about the disorder, others might have a difficult time sympathizing.

While the causes or cures of misophonia have not been established, there exists a multitude of ways that one can manage their symptoms and triggers. If possible, change your environment so you are not surrounded by triggers. Educate the people around you about your condition so they can realize how you feel about certain noises. A variety of medications have been tried such as ones that treat anxiety and depression. Therapy has also been known to significantly help people cope with and understand their misophonia.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with misophonia, anxiety, depression, or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

By Scout H

Sources:

Dion, Paul N. “Misophonia- Symptoms and Triggers.” Misophonia.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Dryden-Edwards, Roxanne, and Melissa Conrad Stoppler. “Misophonia.” MedicineNet. N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Lerner, Barron H. “Please Stop Making That Noise.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

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