What is Misophonia definition? Misophonia – literally the hatred of sound -can be defined as a hypersensitivity to background sounds or visual stimuli that are generally ignored by other people. More importantly than the individuals inability to block out the offending stimuli or “trigger” is the acute negative emotional response experienced as a direct result of being in contact with a trigger.
Misophonia commonly occurs along with hyperacusis and/or tinnitus, but can appear by itself. One of the tools we use to treat misophonia at AC Associates is called Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). TRT recognizes the specific involvement of various components of the auditory pathways of the nervous system in occurrences of tinnitus, hyperacusis and misophonia. For treatment of misophonia, TRT uses a method based on the active removal of conditioned reflexive responses to sound, allowing patients to feel like themselves again.
People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by the sound of other people eating, breathing, coughing, or other ordinary sounds. They are not normally annoyed by sounds that they themselves make. Reactions to these sounds are not limited, however, to just loud eating noises; people with misophonia find themselves affected by all kinds of noises. Such reactions are also involuntary.
Although the initial list of Triggers was thought to be focused around soft sounds or eating and bodily noises it has since been identified that an ever increasing list of audio and visual stimuli may trigger the above reaction. Not everyone who has this condition is affected equally, with some being unaffected by trigger noises that torments others, while others still seem to have no negative response visual stimuli but are completely overcome by sounds.
The sound of a carrot snapping in two is enough to send Ben Mariano running from a room.
For the 32-year-old Toronto accountant, gum-chewing, lip-smacking and carrot-crunching are akin to nails on a blackboard. Worse, even. The noises other people make with their mouths have driven him to clobber a wall with his fists. Once, he chucked a bag of groceries at the wall.
Mariano has tried cognitive behavioural therapy with a psychologist who has helped him talk through his reactions, but says he's made no progress so far. He has been treated for depression and anxiety as well, and takes Ritalin, which seems to be helping.
People with misophonia tend to use varying coping methods. Most people will simply avoid the sound and leave the room/area altogether, whereas some will try to block the sound with earplugs, music/listening to music on headphones and in more extreme cases, not socialise for fear of hearing the sounds. It is important to note that sensitivity to the offending sounds is often far more severe when the origin of the sound comes from a person that is emotionally connected to the sufferer.
Misophonia is not a well-known diagnosis and few treatment options are available. Anxiolytics have been prescribed to help patients feel calmer in situations that would normally cause anger.
Some therapists offer sound sensitivity training. They expose a patient to both 'pleasant' and aggravating sounds in the hope that doing so will reduce the immediate feelings of anxiety or rage, and eventually desensitise the person to the offending sounds. This method does not currently have supporting clinical data, however. A recent survey of two major related website support groups gathered a response base of only 19 people, 11 of whom had been officially diagnosed with misophonia, and none had found persistent or significant relief from this method.
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