Do you have misophonia?
Misophonia, or the “hatred of sound”, is a disorder that causes people to have strong and negative reactions to certain noises, says Dr. Rian Rowles a psychiatrist with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
Everyone might hate the sound of nails on a chalkboard, rubbing Styrofoam together or other unpleasant sounds, but Dr. Rowles says individuals who suffer from misophonia typically become agitated by sounds most people are accustomed to. For example, a pen clicking, heavy breathing or chewing.
“Misophonia can cause those affected to have anxiety or panic attacks, become full of rage and ultimately interfere with their ability to live their life,” says Dr. Rowles.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, misophonia was only recently considered a disorder as of 2000. Researchers in Amsterdam say these are the most common misophonia triggers:
- Eating sounds – lip smacking, chewing, swallowing, etc.
- Loud breathing and nose sounds, such as sniffling
- Finger or hand sounds, such as cracking of knuckles
Dr. Rowles says these are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Aggression towards people making certain sounds, especially if irritation or disgust turns into anger and results in verbal or physical lashing out
- Avoiding people making certain triggering sounds
- Rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure or muscle tightness towards certain sounds
Dr. Rowles says there are ways to manage or cope with the disorder. For example:
- Find a supportive therapist who is familiar with the disorder
- Let your family and friends know about your struggles and with which sounds you are having difficulty
- When possible, avoid trigger sounds or bring earplugs or headphones to help subside noises
- Practice meditation and relaxation skills to help divert your attention from trigger sounds
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