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Sound rage or...Misophonia?

Misophonia is a condition that affects some individuals, causing them to have a strong emotional and physiological response to specific sounds, often referred to as trigger sounds. The response can range from anger and irritation to anxiety and physical discomfort. While the condition is not well understood, it is estimated to affect around 20% of the population, which is perhaps surprisingly high.

The term misophonia was first used in 2001 by two researchers, Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff. The term is derived from the Greek words "miso," which means hate or disgust, and "phonia," which means sound. It is also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome (4S), and it is sometimes referred to as sound rage. Individuals with misophonia have a heightened sensitivity to specific sounds, which triggers a strong emotional response. These trigger sounds can vary widely between individuals, but common trigger sounds include chewing, slurping, breathing, clicking, tapping, and humming. For some individuals, even the sound of a pen clicking or someone typing on a keyboard can be triggering.

Man with fingers in ears due to noise or the condition misophonia
Misophonia. Sound Rage.

The emotional response to these trigger sounds can vary, but common reactions include anger, frustration, and disgust. These feelings are often accompanied by physiological responses, such as an increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension. In some cases, the response can be so severe that the individual feels the need to leave the room or avoid the trigger sound altogether.

Misophonia is not a new condition, but it has only recently gained recognition as a legitimate disorder. For many years, individuals with misophonia were often dismissed as being overly sensitive or difficult to deal with. However, research has shown that misophonia is a real and potentially debilitating condition. The exact cause of misophonia is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to the way the brain processes certain sounds. Individuals with misophonia may have an overactive amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for processing emotions. When a trigger sound is heard, the amygdala may perceive it as a threat, which triggers the emotional and physiological response. If the individual is suffering from high levels of stress this can certainly make the condition worse.

Misophonia is often confused with hyperacusis, which is a condition that causes individuals to be hypersensitive to all sounds. While both conditions involve a heightened sensitivity to sound, misophonia is specific to certain sounds, while hyperacusis is a general sensitivity to all sounds.

There is no known cure as such for misophonia, but there are several treatment options available. Hypnotherapy is often used to help individuals with misophonia learn to manage their emotional and physiological responses to trigger sounds. This type of therapy involves teaching individuals to identify their trigger sounds and to develop coping strategies, such as relaxation techniques and distraction methods.

Hypnotherapy may help individuals with misophonia by helping them learn how to manage their emotional and physical responses to trigger sounds. During hypnosis, a therapist can help the individual enter a relaxed state and provide suggestions for reducing the intensity of their emotional and physical reactions.

Additionally, hypnotherapy can also help address any underlying psychological or emotional issues that may be contributing to misophonia symptoms. For example, some individuals with misophonia may have experienced trauma or stress in their past that has contributed to their hypersensitivity to sounds. Hypnotherapy can help individuals work through these underlying issues and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

There are also several self-help strategies that individuals with misophonia can use to manage their symptoms. These include avoiding trigger sounds whenever possible, using noise-cancelling headphones, and practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness.

While misophonia can be a challenging condition to live with, there are ways to manage its symptoms. With the help of a qualified therapist and hypnotherapist such as myself, individuals with misophonia can learn to cope with their triggers and improve their quality of life.

If you or someone you know suffers from misophona do get in touch.

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