I received this amazing email from a client the other week and wanted to share her story with you on her journey with misophonia.
She has asked for her name not to be used for personal reasons and to be honest, it is considered unethical to share clients personal details under my professional code of ethics.
I’ll let her words tell the story.
“ Finding out about Nolene’s treatment for misophonia was a wonderful case of synchronicity for me – I’d heard of misophonia before as my sister had heard a radio segment and told me about it because she thought it described my symptoms. After that, I’d done some online research and read a bit about it. But everything I read was about the symptoms with nothing about treatments.
It had been months since I’d read anything about misophonia but, right at the time when I felt my symptoms were getting worse, I happened to come across a newspaper article about Nolene’s misophonia treatment. I immediately rang her to talk about it and it was lucky for me that her clinic is very close to where I live. Before I knew the details of Nolene’s treatment, I felt a sense of relief just that it might be possible to treat my condition although, at the time, I wouldn’t have called it a condition – I just thought I was highly intolerant and slightly crazy.
My earliest memories of having an intense dislike for certain sounds are from when I was in primary school. The noise of people chewing was very irritating for me, I felt disgusted and annoyed and had a physical feeling like something wet was in my ear.
And I wasn’t able to resist the urge to put my fingers in my ears to try to wipe it away which, of course, didn’t work.
I felt ashamed because my family teased me about it.
It increased a little as a I got older but really became a problem from me in my thirties.
The range of sounds I couldn’t bear increased and I became anxious about being around certain people and in certain environments where I knew I would hear sounds I hated, such as on public transport or at work during winter with people constantly sniffing.
I tried not to show how irritated I was but it was becoming increasingly difficult to hide it. The urge to get away from the noises or to somehow make them stop was giving me feelings of anxiety and anger and I was starting to find ways to avoid being in certain situations and places.
Since commencing treatment with Nolene, I now recognise this as being in a state of hypervigilance, which is an awful feeling.
After my initial conversation with Nolene, I visited her clinic and we talked through the treatment in detail – I was pleasantly surprised because I’d been worried it would be a form of exposure therapy. Nolene rang through a checklist to rate my moods, behaviours and reactions to sounds to set my baseline. I then commenced watching a four minute video, once or twice a day, with headphones on.
Nolene had explained the theory of the treatment to me and I initially felt a bit unsure it would work but I was very open minded to trying it.
The treatment has made an incredible difference for me.
It’s hard to describe just how much.
It’s such a simple process – there’s no effort involved at all, I put in headphones, watch a video and carry on with my day. During each appointment with Nolene, we talk about how I’m feeling and run through the checklist to track my progress and there’s a very clear difference compared to when I started the treatment.
My condition has improved to the point where I now rarely feel anxious or afraid of being exposed to sounds that irritate me.
I also remind myself that there are probably many times a day that I’m simply no longer hearing sounds that would have irritated me prior to the treatment.
From time to time, I hear a noise that irritates me but the intensity of the feeling is very low compared to before I started the treatment. If a noise persists, I still occasionally move away or, if I can, listen to music through my phone so I don’t hear it. The difference is the sense of urgency to get the headphones in my ears or to get away has almost disappeared.
Before my appointments with Nolene, I was becoming increasingly upset about how much misophonia interfered with my life and how ashamed I felt, but due to the treatment process, I feel so relieved to have a sense of control over my condition instead of it controlling me.”
I’m grateful to clients who allow me to use my skills and expertise to help them live their best lives. Thank you so much.
It is stories like this that make the effort to learn and help my clients with misophonia worthwhile. Thank you. I love what I am doing!
Your personal stories are important. They need to be shared. Please share this message on your social networks like Facebook. It helps spread the message that help is available for those with misophonia.
Make an appointment now by going to my contact page.
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Australian Audiologist who is passionate about misophonia. This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.