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Misophonia: what is it? Symptoms and treatments


Does it annoy you when someone champs or chews loudly? Scientists claim that an attack of anger that occurs in such situations indicates the presence of misophony. This syndrome is a form of intolerance to sounds, reflecting the disgust experienced by them. Considered a neurological disorder! And since millions of people suffer from it, it is worth telling about it in a little more detail.


The concept of misophonia was introduced in 2001. I must say that the medical community has long doubted whether it is necessary to consider the sharp reaction of some people to champing and chewing disease.

But since then, misophony has been called a neurological disorder, which results in the negative experience associated with specific sounds. The term was coined by American neuroscientists Margaret and Pavel Yastrebovy. Misophony is also often called selective sound sensitivity.

Misophonia: what is it?

The difference between misophony and ordinary irritability is that unpleasant sounds cause an attack of panic, rage and even aggression in a sick person. Hearing the usual chomping or knocking of fingers on a computer keyboard, a person can break into a cry and even arrange a tantrum.

At the initial stages of the disease, misophones try to avoid acoustic stimuli. However, it becomes more difficult to do this with disease progression. The world around us is filled with sounds - you cannot escape from them anywhere. In severe cases, patients suffering from misophony experience such torments that, according to some of them, they think about how to deprive themselves of hearing.

Misophonia is poorly understood. It was attributed to the category of neurological disorders relatively recently - approximately in the 2000s, after studies conducted by neuroscientists Marsha Johnson and Pavel Yastrebov. Then the symptoms of the disease were highlighted.

As already mentioned, do not confuse misophony and the usual sensitivity of the hearing aid. Although such sensitivity in the presence of additional factors can eventually cause the disease.

Here is a list of sounds that most often provoke poor health and discomfort in the misophone:

  • champing
  • snore,
  • nail cutting
  • joint crunch
  • scratching on any surface
  • wheezing and loud breathing, etc.

The main distinguishing features of misophone are that they react to the stimulus inappropriately, disproportionately to the scale of exposure to an unpleasant sound. Hearing a normal harmless cough or tapping, the misophone can throw a tantrum. The more neglected the disease, the more difficult it is to predict the reaction. A person can even use violence to a source of irritation, if only the torment ceases. This is where the danger lies in misophonia.

How to get rid of the disease once and for all? Until now, 100% treatment has not been developed. But the secret of healing is to be found in the root causes of the development of the disease.

So, misophonia, the causes of which are still at the identification stage, was isolated as a separate disease by Dr. Pavel Yastrebov. Until the beginning of the XXI century. hatred of sounds was considered a manifestation of schizophrenia or psychosis.

Briefly describing the theory of Yastrebov, he considers misophony as an innate feature of the nervous system, therefore he offers the simplest way to neutralize it - to displace unpleasant sounds with other triggers that deliver pleasant emotions.

There is also a theory that intolerance to sounds is a consequence of a neurosis. An annoying sound, one way or another, is associated in a patient at an unconscious level with a traumatic event. Therefore, an acoustic signal triggers a chain of inadequate reactions.

Scientists from Florida associate painful sensitivity to sounds with obsessive-compulsive disorder, considering misophony as a side effect of obsessive conditions. But, one way or another, all neuroscientists agree that people with atypical interaction of the auditory cortex and brain are predisposed to misophony. So the disease may well be hereditary.

Recent studies

British scientists from the University of Newcastle undertook to investigate the results of MRI of people - both ordinary and those suffering from misophony.

Scanning was carried out directly during the experiment - in parallel with it, the subjects included audio recordings with neutral sounds (boiling water, rain noise) and unpleasant (human screaming, baby crying). There were also sounds of breathing and eating food.

Visible changes occurred in people with misophonia at the moment when they included “trigger” recordings. It turned out that this phenomenon is due to a different development of the frontal lobe. In addition to a strong brain reaction, there was a rapid heartbeat and intense sweating.

Thus, it can be stated with confidence that misophony is the most real disorder that critical brain changes lead to. Even the difference in structure is noticeable, which is the main evidence of this statement.

Now misophony can be correlated with hyperacusis, which is a deviation manifested by sharp reactions to any sounds. This is due to abnormal functioning of the hearing aid. Only this condition is more dangerous, since it is fraught with irritation of the nervous system and headaches.

And misophony is associated only with certain sounds. Nevertheless, in this topic there are still many unsolved nuances and questions that psychologists and scientists have to answer. So far, few facts are known about the anatomical location of this anomaly. But, presumably, it refers to the structures of the central nervous system.

Misophonia: treatment independently and under the supervision of a doctor

The main question remains: is it possible to cure the disease? Or do you need to come to terms with some restrictions if you have misophony? Sound intolerance treatment should be comprehensive. It is necessary to start therapy as early as possible, or over time, the sounds will cause such painful sensations that you will have to go into complete isolation.

Experts recommend the following actions.

  1. Consult an audiologist and psychologist. Learn to control violent emotions.
  2. Try cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy in action.
  3. Get acquainted with the principles of desensitization therapy, which will help neutralize anxiety conditions.

Also interesting is the psychological technique of switching attention. If you understand that you will now have to face an annoying sound, try turning on your favorite music, putting on your headphones or ear plugs, turning on your fan or TV.

Consequences of the disease

In no case do not ignore the attacks of aggression in response to acoustic stimuli. Identify symptoms in time for which misophonia is recognized. What is this, most people do not know. It seems to us just a feature of character that a friend or relative inadequately responds to the most ordinary household noises.

Nevertheless, like any neurological disorder, misophony, if untreated, begins to provoke psychosomatic disorders over time: during outbursts of anger, attacks of migraine, sweating, and, not to mention, nervous exhaustion, roll over a person. Life in society becomes torture. Do not bring yourself to such a state.