What is Misophonia?
Ever since I was a child, I found certain sounds absolutely life-threatening. Hearing them made me very angry (up to murderous rage) and anxious. I recently realized that there is a name for it, misophonia and it was such a relief knowing I wasn’t alone.
It is described by American Neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff as
A neurological disorder, in which a person feels anxiety, and even rage in response to certain sounds, which may be loud or soft
It puts you in a fight or flight mode instantaneously. One of such times was the day my sister asked me to go shopping with her. She had come to London for the first time and we were on the tube heading to Oxford street. Along the way, a man chewing gum loudly and noisily came into our carriage. I was immediately angered and also at myself for leaving my headphones at home. I looked around the carriage and no one seemed bothered, this even enraged me more. I really wanted to hit the guy but as the train came to a stop at the next station I jumped out, thinking my sister was going to follow me, but she didn’t…
The Work Place
Open Plan offices might be straight from the devil. As someone who is largely introverted and with misophonia, it can be hellish. The continuous stimulation for over 7 hours is a massive drain on all my faculty.
Daily triggers at work include; loud voices and sibilation, furious keyboard typing (surprised the keyboard hasn’t broken), slurping and chewing noises.
One particular day I was in a rage and thinking seriously of quitting my job. Thankfully, it was a Friday, so after work, I got some comfort food and watched a movie. As I lay on my bed, coping ideas began to materialize in my brain. I told my friend I was so glad that depression hasn’t been added to my anxiety and misophonia!
Noise Cancelling Headphones – These work a treat, I use them all the time and because I love music, it’s an amazing solution. Now, I need to rest my ears every now and then so to fill the gaps the next solutions come in.
Ear Plugs – I am currently testing a few I got from Amazon, 3M makes some called earfit, which I am using right now. It is ok, but the level of comfort could be better. It tones down all the sounds, which is good enough. Only issue is having to take them out often because you have to talk to people.
Regular Breaks – I try to take a 5 min break in a quiet place every hour, or 10 mins every 2 hours. This not only helps my misophonia but all the other stimulation which gets overwhelming fast like movements, lights, sounds etc. Definitely helps to stretch your leg so you can avoid deep vein thrombosis.
These are the things that help me cope at the moment. It’s hard talking to people about this because for the most part they can’t change ( voice for example ) and they can’t understand.
If you have some other ways which you use to cope, please let me know! all the best.
Support for People With Misophonia
To learn more about Misophonia, here are some related articles
Enraged by Everyday Sounds – Psychology Today
The Chewing Sound and The Fury – New Republic
Boyfriend Chewing Makes Me Want to Strangle Him – Daily Mail
How Sounds Trigger Rage and Anxiety – Daily Record
Living With Misophonia – Tribune