When people chew, do you become enraged? And have you ever yelled at someone for breathing too loudly? Does it make your blood boil when you hear someone snore or sigh? Repeated noises such as sniffing, pencil tapping, chewing, or scratching can irritate and frustrate anyone.
However, these noises are more than just annoying for people who suffer from misophonia, a condition known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome. Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds, like people breathing or eating, or repetitive sounds like pen tapping, elicit a strong emotional response. Those who suffer from it hate certain sounds and lack control over their reactions. Simply put, misophonia is an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds. In fact, the term “misophonia” is derived from the Greek word for “hatred of sound.”
Some experts believe misophonia is a condition, while others think it’s a symptom of another mental health condition. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this mental disorder, but let’s see how you can manage it along with the worry and anxiety that can result from suffering with this problem.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
Tinnitus causes you to hear sounds, like ringing in your ears, and like misophonia, it can cause agitation and interfere with your life. So, it’s natural that people can use treatments for tinnitus for misophonia as well.
Tinnitus retraining therapy assists people in learning to accept and tolerate those sounds. It can also help people suffering from misophonia learn to cope with trigger sounds.
CBT is a treatment option for misophonia. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, people may learn to understand their reactions to the triggering sounds and develop coping strategies to manage their negative reactions. This may entail altering negative thought patterns associated with the triggering sounds.
CBT assists you in addressing and reframing unwanted behaviors and thoughts. In addition, it could help you navigate the emotions and physical sensations triggered by certain sounds.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
This therapy teaches people how to manage their emotions using techniques like distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and mindfulness.
In addition, relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation may be helpful for some misophonia patients. This technique aims to teach you how to activate the relaxation response by alternating relaxing and tensing different body parts.
A trained mental health professional provides a safe space to discuss the discomfort and frustrations caused by misophonia. You can also learn effective coping strategies for the condition through regular therapy.
However, an essential component to the success of misophonia treatment isn’t only therapy with a mental health professional but also a reliable support system (your loved ones) that understands the complex process of rewiring the nervous system and brain. Therapy progress won’t happen overnight, but it’s possible to make progress with patience and a positive attitude. The length of therapy varies depending on the severity of the symptoms, but benefits should start within the first few weeks of counseling if the recommendations are followed.
White Noise Devices
When you hear a triggering sound, your go-to coping strategy may be to leave the room, but you may not always be able to do so. Some people respond well to white noise, which masks the triggering sounds. These can be ear-level devices that play sounds or room-level devices like white noise machines or fans. You can obtain them through an audiologist which can be costly, so you should check with your insurance provider to see if such devices are covered before proceeding.
However, an iPod or a smartphone with headphones or earbuds could achieve the same effect, but it’s considerably less costly. However, it’s always a good idea to use noise-canceling headphones or listen to white noise, calming sounds like rain or nature, or even your favorite songs.
Hating sounds doesn’t alone mean you suffer from misophonia. Many people may dislike the sound of a fork scraping against a plate or the sound of nails on a chalkboard, but this doesn’t imply that you have misophonia. Just because you find certain sounds irritating doesn’t imply misophonia is to blame.
However, if everyday sounds like chewing, breathing, or sniffing cause you to have an intensely negative reaction, you may be suffering from misophonia. If some sounds enrage you, make you avoid certain places and situations, or jeopardize your mental health, you’re living with misophonia. If that’s the case, we recommend seeking professional help.