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Harvard Health Blog
Misophonia: When sounds really do make you "crazy"
- By James Cartreine, PhD, Contributing Editor
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I remember when I was in kindergarten way back when, i would scold people at my table for chewing out loud. I would poke them and say, you are chewing with your mouth open, can you stop? And they would stop. Recently we did this test and i wanted to kill somone because the amount of trigger noises that they were making. Of course im normal now but omg, that was some blood boiling stuff.
Loud music and constant bass. Is that this condition or just reacting to unnecessary noise? Upsetting, but then so is breathing in cigarette smoke when you know it’s unhealthy and smelly.
Ellen, I think that’s just you reacting to an overwhelming noise. Do you know about the term “sensory overload”? It seems to me that may be what you’re experiencing. Especially if your main complete is the loudness of the noise, I don’t think misophonia is the appropriate conclusion to make. Typically, a very small and underwhelming noise that most people overlook is a trigger for those with misophonia (e.g. breathing, chewing, yawning, sniffling).
The sound of birds’ incessant chirping in the Spring makes me nuts. I dread the month of April because they start at 3:00 a.m. and continuously chirp until late morning. I have to wear earplugs. When their eggs hatch in May, I cannot stand the noise of the babies screeching for food – again it starts at the crack of dawn. I cannot wait until July when they are gone. I actually feel stressed, angry and irritable until they are gone.
sorry to hear that, bro.
I am curious if whistling would be considered a trigger for someone with misphonia. My reaction to whistling is flight, and if that is not possible my ears. I immediately get agitated and angry.
Whistling is my trigger. It brings up instant rage. I’ve had to make major changes in my life to avoid whistlers in a shared work environment. Whistlers selfishly ruin the environment, demanding attention and notice with their stupid noise, and preventing others from working in peace.
A couple of questions:
1) Is this diagnosis in the DSM and/or covered by insurance?
2) What is the comorbidity with major mental illnesses? Might it be part of the reason why someone who is manic or psychotic has an episode of agitation?
3) Any citations about misophonia from scholarly journals?
Antidepressants of the SSRI type have helped me with this problem. My daughter has it to. Thanks for helping us explain it to our loved ones, so they don’t think we’re nuts or that we hate them. We can’t help it and wouldn’t choose it either!
I’ll highlight two ways it has most impacted my life. First off, sleeping arrangements when traveling are a major consideration and created some awkward situations . More than one Gracious host with a ticking clock in their guest rooms have been offended and thought I’m insane when I try to explain why I’m going to a hotel.
Secondly and more troubling are the volatile and potentially violent situations created by certain loud noises. While otherwise never a violent or confrontational guy, I’m usually good for at least two car horn confrontations a year, normally in parking garages. Doesnt matter if I’m in a good mood/ bad mood or if it’s even directed at me, anything more than 2 loud consecutive blaring of a horn in my proximity, I run the risk of having a truly uncontrolled response of getting out of my car to start. That same person could have called me every name in the book and peed on my front lawn and I wouldn’t even consider fighting them but loud car horns turns me into a drunken sailor. Interesting side not, that even after I’ve chilled out, for some reason I still feel a certain justification in my behavior even though i know it’s totally uncontrolled and unacceptable behavior.
For me, even THINKING about the sound makes me undeniably want to pick up a heavy object and slam it repeatedly onto somebody’s head until they pass out. It’s unnerving that I could even possibly think it, but it’s uncontrollable. I’ve never acted on these thoughts, and I pray to God I never will. But for now, they consume my thoughts all day everyday, ESPECIALLY when my main trigger is the breathing of someone who lives in my house and sleeps one door away.
thanks for sharing information and most important symptoms about misophonia.Nice Blog
I have had this issue for as long as I can remember, but never talked about it until my daughters developed the same problems. They are 15 and 14 now. My husband and 2 young sons find it difficult to eat in the same room with us because we shoot them looks or snap at them. It’s so ridiculous and not how we want to be, but it’s real. I avoid movie theaters because I can’t focus on the film of people are eating and I get irritated.
My 13 year old son also suffers from this condition. He gets agressive and angry when trigger sounds are heard, and has been known to burst into tears at the sound of people eating.
I’m trying to find help but it’s not readily available.
Maybe try magnesium. Dr. Sircus and Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle mention that a magnesium deficiency can cause a sensivity to noise. Most of us are deficient and a magnesium irritability, anxiety and lots of other symptoms.
So glad to see this issue in your publication, brings authenticity to those who suffer terribly from this awful condition. My 18 year old daughter has severe misophonia, started at age 4 with chewing being the main trigger. Around 11 years old, triggers multiplied and now breathing, sniffling, humming, and certain words affect her. She is very isolated by this condition, and it is so sad because her potential is so great, yet won’t be realized. If more research is being done , she would love to be participate if you need people.
Hi Kim. My daughter is five and suffers from Misophonia. Started when she was just 18 mos. old. Have you tried different treatments for your daughter? What about medications?
Was your daughter able to go to school? I have a daughter who is now15 and it started at age of 13. She’s been home-schooled for the last two years. She really wants to go back to school but has a severe case, Sniffling sounds are her biggest Trigger, which happens all day long in classrooms. So desperate to find a solution for this
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