Diagram of the the different parts of hearing

Understanding Misophonia – What’s Happening to Me?

An understanding of neuroscience and audiology provides us with a possible way for you to understand what is happening to you. You just might not be an angry person after all.

“Its time for dinner. You are expected to join the family and sit at the dining table with them. You know what is going to happen. You know you are going to react to Mum when she eats. She is so disgusting ”

Are you feeling bad about how you no longer can share a meal with your family without having to leave the room?

Have you ever wondered if it is possible to fully understand what is happening to you and why you feel so much anger and disgust?

How Your Brain Learnt to React to Difficult Experiences

“It goes back to when our brain started. As our brain evolved, it was extremely important to be able to learn from dangerous experiences and survive!”

“Once burned, twice shy”

So, our brains developed special pathways from these dangerous experiences so we could access the information of how we survived from our emotional memory. We had to remember how to survive if this happened again.

What happens in the brain when we have a positive experience? For example, you go out with a group of friends to dinner and have a great time!

Unless this experience is very unusual or intense, the experience would flow through the brain like water through a sieve. The brain’s memory systems require that we hold something in our awareness for a period of time to transfer the memory from our short term memory to long term memory.

We rarely do this.

Our positive experiences flow through the brain while negative ones get caught every time.

Rick Hanson uses a wonderful metaphor of “Velcro and Teflon as a way to explain what scientists call the “negativity bias” of the brain. “The brain works like Velcro for negative experiences and like Teflon for positive ones.”

Your Brain Led You to Where You Are Now!

Now you know why from the moment you first became aware of “those sound” that you were just doing what your body did naturally. Your reactions were not necessarily useful for you.

This natural “negativity bias”  explains why you have been becoming more sensitive, stressed, upset, guilty and shamed over time. It helps you understand why you have developed this tendency towards seeing things as gloom and doom and growing feelings of resentment and regret.

It seems your brain has led you to where you are now – it has a bias against you feeling lasting contentment

Change is Possible!

It is possible to change the brains bias toward what you want more of. You can create the change you want towards a new way that leaves you feeling more balanced and happier.

Life has tough parts for all of us.

Isn’t it great to know that we have the ability to put challenges in perspective, feel more alive, develop more useful ways of handling situations or people and just feel good again.

This approach is a brain science savvy and psychologically skillful way to improve how you feel. It underlies all my work.

Sometimes like you, my negativity bias wins and I go back to what I know. However, the more you apply the following three simple steps in my life, life just seems not so bad.

Here are the three steps.

  1. Go looking for good facts about a situation, and turn them into good experiences.
  2. Find a way to really enjoy the experience.
  3. Use your mind to pretend and create a sense that the good experience is sinking into or becoming part of you.

You may already know the famous saying, “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Follow this principle and get your neurons firing together about positive facts, more and more.

The more you do this the more the positive neural structures will be wired into your brain.

Over to You

Do you want to know more about my approach and how it is used to provide a treatment for misophonia?


Nolene Nielson

Nolene Nielson is an experienced Australian Audiologist who is passionate about misophonia. This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.