Misophonia, quite literally, means “hatred of sound”. It is a condition where a set of negative emotions, thoughts and/or physical reactions is induced by the person hearing a certain sound or multiple certain sounds. These are often described as “trigger sounds”.
These sounds are often related to the mouth, as in chewing, slurping, whispering, popping gum etc. and most of them are repetitive. Sounds that, for any other person, wouldn’t even be worth mentioning as they are techincally sounds that we all hear on a regular basis and should be well used to.
For me, and other people suffering from misophonia, these sounds however can trigger a severe emotional or physical reaction. Such as, aggression towards the source of the sound, intrusive thoughts, withdrawing from the situation, suffering in silence, irrational anger etc.
The “worst” sounds for me would be chewing and slurping. But on occasion also sounds like keys on a keyboard or the repeated tapping of fingers. I don’t think I can accurately describe what goes on inside my head when I hear those sounds. The closest I can come to describing it would be that there are certain stages of annoyance that I go through.
In the first stage, I usually acknowledge the sound and I know that is bothering me, but still hoping it will go away soon enough and things are back to normal. If the sound persists I will start to feel agitated, I may try to remove myself from the situation but at this point I have to try very hard already to not just snap and shout. Entering the third stage I am just about ready to punch a wall or person for that matter. Now, while I don’t do that, that is what I FEEL like doing and nothing can stop this feeling of pure anger and frustration, unless the trigger sound stops.
If you are left a bit confused as to why I experience such intense emotions from merely hearing a sound, I get you. Misophonia is a condition that isn’t really known or spoken about, mainly because there has been very little research done into it.
Before I knew about Misophonia, I thought I was weird for feeling the way that I do about certain sounds. I thought I was feeling these irrational things that just couldn’t be normal. I thought I was a freak for getting so hung up about sounds.
Turns out that quite a few people suffer from this condition. And I am indeed not weird for feeling the way that I do.
Sadly, as of now there is no real treatment for this kind of condition. It is suggested that Misophonia can coexist with a variety of mental illnesses and can be made worse by hightened stress levels. So trying to reduce those would be beneficial. Apart from that avoidance and learning a few coping techniques are the only ways to deal with misophonia as of right now.
How does this condition affect my day to day life then, you may think? For a start is has made social situations a lot harder to deal with. I already suffer from social anxiety, so on top of everything that brings with it, certain situations, such as eating out in a restaurant, are now made ten times worse. Having to sit in silence, suffering, while people are eating their meal, it’s infuriating. I want to scream in their face, throw their food off the table – but I can’t. It’s not their fault, and reacting in that way would not only be unfair but it would also impose a massive strain on the relationship I have with them. Sometimes a situation as nice as sitting in bed next to my boufriend can be ruined, simply by him typing something on his laptop and those sounds making me quite literally want to punch holes into the wall next to me.
It’s simple, everyday situations like these that are ruined for me. Situations the average person wouldn’t think twice about.
I now have a pair of earplugs with me constantly, I often have to excuse myself to go to the bathroom when I am out with people just to catch a break for a few minutes.
Sometimes the sheer sounds of people talking can agitate me so much, I have to leave the room. Trying to explain this to another person, without upsetting them is hard. Because it is by no means their fault, yet here you are trying to explain how some sound that they are producing is making you feel awful.
I am hoping that in the future there may be some more research done into Misophonia, its causes and possible treatments.
Are you familiar with this condition? Do you or someone you know suffer from it? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments!