How do we combine sounds with emotions
Anyone suffering from misophonia can hardly stand certain noises. Typical examples of this are smacking, chewing, swallowing noises, repeated clicking or rubbing noises on fabric, wood or glass. Noises that are perceived as unpleasant can lead to strong reactions regardless of their volume. The spectrum of emotions ranges from simple displeasure to strong aggression.
Reluctance to eat noises
Misophonia and hyperacusis
The causes of misophonia have not yet been conclusively clarified. In some cases it can be traced back to an experience people had in their childhood. Extreme traumatic situations can also lead to misophonia. In both cases, the hated noises can be traced back to a link in the brain between the sound and a bad feeling during an experience. In post-traumatic disorders, however, sounds often trigger feelings of fear, which is more indicative of phonophobia.
Symptoms of misophonia are generally more likely to be disgust, anger, and aggression. Experts believe that the noise intolerance in this case is due to a non-trauma miscommunication that associates certain sounds with emotional responses. For this reason, control over one's own emotions and the ability to actively relax are particularly important for those affected.
Misophonia therapy: what helps?
Misophonia is a relatively new phenomenon and is still little known in medical and psychological circles. Hearing care professionals, ENT doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists are currently researching intolerance to everyday noises and appropriate treatment methods. It is clear that this suffering is not necessarily due to a memorable, possibly traumatic experience. Another exciting finding concerns noises that are perceived as unpleasant or not annoying. Misophonics sometimes cannot stand noises such as chewing an apple, but noises that are generally regarded as strenuous, such as baby cries, do not cause a negative reaction. Scientists have found that hated noises in those affected create a link to an area of the brain that is responsible for emotional reactions - the anterior cerebral cortex. So it could be that some kind of malfunction of the brain leads to strong defenses. However, a link in the brain cannot simply be remodeled. For this reason, the aim of treating misophonia must be to learn to control one's own very strong emotions.
Techniques for relief
- Autogenic training
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Thai chi
- Therapy with a behavioral psychologist
- Noiser (known from tinnitus therapy)
What shouldn't be used are drugs. Misophonics should also be aware that this phenomenon is still little known and therefore misdiagnoses are made time and again. In the past, ADHD, hyperacusis, high sensitivity or depression were diagnosed instead of misophonia. This can be very stressful for those affected. Therefore, if you are unsure, we advise you to talk to your specialized ENT doctor or family doctor directly about misophonia. If he is not familiar with this form of noise intelligence, it will logically lead to a misdiagnosis.
Everyday life with misophony
It is particularly important to address the issue openly. Explain to those around you what misophonia is, which sounds trigger strong reactions in you and how they feel. Otherwise, in the worst case scenario, misophonia can lead you to develop phonophobia, i.e. a fear of noises, and isolate yourself from those around you. It helps many sufferers that they have a name for their rejection of everyday noises. Knowing that you are not alone with this problem can be very reassuring. In addition, relatives and friends are often more tolerant of this form of hypersensitivity if it has been diagnosed by a doctor.
Drown out disturbing noises
Misophonia in children
Misophonia can occur in children as well as in adults. The first symptoms often become noticeable between the ages of ten and twelve. Eating together at the table, for example, becomes a torture for a child who is already under stress due to the chewing noises. Experts advise not to react forcefully to the noise intolerance of children. This can make symptoms worse. Sound therapy or another therapeutic measure can support children in their development. It is important that children understand the wrong switching in their brain. In this way, uncertainties can be resolved, emotions and triggers can be separated more easily and calming down is easier. Parents should definitely refrain from making statements such as “pull yourself together”. This increases the suffering of those affected and leads to them feeling misunderstood and withdrawing further and further.
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