What is Misophonia?

Misophonia distress

Misophonia describes when you have an intense emotional reaction to certain sounds made by certain people or in certain situations. 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?

Have you wondered why you experience these reactions… have sensitivities to certain sounds… and wonder if you are the only one who has these problems? After all, when events trigger these strong emotional responses in you, other people report they have barely noticed those sounds that affect you so strongly?

The literal translation is hatred of sound but at Hearing Care Professionals, we prefer this definition to explain this reaction to sound or sounds.

Misophonia is a condition in which a person reacts with extreme emotion to certain sounds that most people take little or no notice of.


The literal translation is hatred of sound but at Hearing Care Professionals, we prefer this definition to explain this reaction to sound or sounds.

What causes Misophonia?

SynapseNo one really knows what causes Misophonia. However, we do know a few things about it. It tends to emerge around the age of 10 to 14 years of age. It has a different onset to other types of sound tolerance eg hyperacusis or sound sensitivities found in ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).

There have been decades of research, using functional MRI studies in the area of neuroscience looking at how we react to sounds both internal (tinnitus) and external sounds (sounds outside of ourselves). How the auditory pathways in our brain work with all the other networks is only starting to be understood. Our emotional processing centres, the limbic system and in particular the amygdala play an important role in how we process sound. The “amygdala” are 2 almond size nuclei within your brain that are the first to react to strong emotional events. Understand more about neuroscience and misophonia by reading this blog.

Its’ role is to protect you from harm by interpreting hints of danger to trigger lightning fast responses. It also activates your sympathetic nervous system. It’s why when you hear certain sounds it seems to trouble you the whole day. The good news is the amygdala is somewhat open to reason. We can use the power of our frontal cortex to modify its response.

How can Hearing Care Professionals Help?

There are promising developments in the therapies offered for misophonia. Nolene Nielson, our audiologist believes it is possible to take control of your Misophonia and improve the quality of your life. Currently, there is no current research validated therapy or cure for Misophonia. However, it is possible to live a life without noticing those sounds all the time.

Nolene Nielson has been working in the area of misophonia for 15 years and her passion for making a difference to those with misophonia continues to grow.

Just knowing you are not alone, makes a difference!

Hearing Care Professionals Unique Five Step Process for Misophonia Therapy includes::

  1. Identification if you have misophonia or if there is something else wrong?
  2. Understand the degree of impact your reaction to sounds is having for you?
  3. Exploring Audiology and Brain Science with you to demystify how the hearing (auditory) system and brain works. This provides you with an explanation for how and why you react strongly to certain sounds.
  4. Develop practical strategies with you. These include sound enrichment, reducing auditory hypervigilance, gently recognising and challenging thoughts that are not useful or even true, emotional management, focus on brain training techniques eg attention, mindfulness and acceptance.
  5. Create a plan together taking your particular situation and needs into consideration. You will be provided with options including implementing a program to an ongoing coaching and support or doing nothing. The initial consultation is one and a half hours. The time required after that appointment varies depending on your particular situation.

Discover more about misophonia and what Nolene does?

Contact Nolene Now