AKIPRESS.COM - What happens when you hear someone do any of the following: smacking their lips while eating, slurping drinks, breathing, yawning, sniffling, humming, tapping their fingers, typing or texting with the keyboard clicks switched on? If you have a strong emotional response and a desire to escape or stop the sound, you may have misophonia.
Literally meaning a “hatred of sound”, misophonia is a neurophysiological condition in which people have a disproportionately negative reaction to specific sounds. People with the condition are aware that they overreact to certain sounds, it’s just that their reaction is not within their control.
The trigger sounds that people with misophonia react to can vary from person to person. However, some categories are more common than others and they tend to be related to the mouth or eating, breathing or nasal sounds and finger or hand sounds. Evidence suggests that this aversion develops in childhood and tends to get worse over time.
People with misophonia find trigger sounds more distressing if they are produced by family members rather than by strangers. This may make family meals particularly problematic for misophonics.
Misophonic responses tend to be emotional, with anger being the most common response, ranging from mild annoyance to extreme rage. People can also feel other strong emotional responses such as anxiety or disgust. Physiological responses include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, sweating and muscle contractions.
Unfortunately, our understanding of the condition is in its infancy and so are treatments, although some evidence suggests that cognitive behavioural therapy may help. But given that the condition was only identified in 2001, we still have a long way to go in understanding it, The Conversation reports.