Did you know that many of us find the sounds of chewing or breathing off putting, and for some they’re unbearable?
It might be hearing someone eating with their mouth open, sneezing, coughing, sniffling, chewing gum or throat-clearing? Or you feel rage when you hear certain birds, other people’s noise (eg dogs barking, music) and all you want to do run away or even lash out at the source of the sound?
These sounds are called “trigger sounds” by the misophonia community. The response is often immediate and an intense fight or flight feeling.
The impact of misophonia on someone lives can be devastating. Leading them to avoid so many situations, because they are unable to stay at a social function, eat with the family, stand the sound of their newborn sucking, and it even affects their relationships with those they love the most.
You have to remember the word misophonia was only coined in 2001. But aversive reactions to sounds has been studied for decades.
New hope come from the areas of neuroscience and neuropsychology, as we develop our understanding of neuroplasticity and how we can change our brains for the better.
Its comments like this that remind me of the impact misophonia has on your lives.
“I realise I have changed the whole dynamic of my family. No one eats together anymore. I go to my room and eat and the others eat at odd times. We used to be a family that ate together.”
“I finally muster up the courage to say something. That person proceeds to make the sound back to me.”
“It’s the feeling of dread when someone opens a pack of gum.”
“Genuinely wondering if you would be better off not being able to hear at all.”
“Your brain won’t stop thinking about the sound even after it’s gone.”
“You’re never going to get married, you know.”
Just imagine your life if you could eat with family and friends again, not have to feel dread, anger, that sinking feeling in your chest, wonder how fast you can get away or where you can go to get away? Just not to have that strong physical response to those sounds.
Psychologist Rick Hanson says “this can mean is that with proper practice, we can increasingly trick our neural machinery to cultivate more positive states.” Because as the Canadian scientist Donald Hebb goes “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Here are 8 ways to help your brain help you with your misophonia:
Any single time you do the above it will make only a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.
These are the principles behind my treatment for misophonia. Applying these principles is not easy, that where the Accepting Sounds Film comes in. To provide you with a way to do the above in short daily sessions.
Let me know if you try any of these 8 ways to help your misophonia. They work!. It’s not easy! Just remember that it’s your brain’s negativity bias in the way.
If you want an appointment to see me contact me here?
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Australian Audiologist who is passionate about misophonia This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.