When Sounds Make You Emotional: A Closer Look at Misophonia

Do you get upset when you hear someone chewing their food?

Does loud breathing make you feel like you want to hit the person?

If you have strong feelings about certain sounds, you might have misophonia.

What is misophonia?

Misophonia is a condition where certain sounds make people feel really angry or upset. These sounds are usually everyday noises that most people don’t notice. 

For example, someone with misophonia might get very annoyed by the sound of chewing, tapping, or even breathing.

People with misophonia react strongly to these sounds. They might feel angry, anxious, or even want to run away. These feelings are hard to control and can make life difficult, especially when the sounds are common and hard to avoid.

Misophonia is different for everyone. Some people might only be bothered by one or two sounds, while others might have a long list of noises that upset them. It can start at any age but often begins in childhood or early teens.

There are ways to manage misophonia. Some people find that wearing earplugs or listening to music helps. Others might work with a therapist to learn how to cope with their reactions. 

Understanding and support from family and friends can also make a big difference.

What triggers misophonia?

People with misophonia get upset by everyday sounds that most of us don’t even notice. These sounds make them feel like they need to escape or fight back.

Common triggers include:

  • Loud chewing (or seeing someone eat with their mouth open)
  • Regular eating sounds
  • Breathing
  • Certain speaking sounds (like S, P, K)
  • Repetitive sounds like a pen clicking
  • Sniffing or throat-clearing
  • Heels clicking on hard surfaces

Studies On Misophonia

Not much research has been done on misophonia, and scientists don’t know how common it is.

But it is a real disorder that usually starts around age 12. It affects a person’s mental health, making it hard for them to be around others and handle everyday situations.

Researchers are starting to figure out what might cause misophonia. In a study from Britain, 20 adults with misophonia and 22 adults without it were studied. They were asked to rate how unpleasant they found different sounds.

These sounds included common trigger sounds like: 

  • Eating
  • Breathing

Unpleasant sounds like: 

  • Babies crying 
  • Screaming

Neutral sounds like:

  • Rain
  • Water flowing

People with misophonia found the common trigger sounds very upsetting. Both groups reacted the same to the neutral and very unpleasant sounds.

Also, the trigger sounds caused more stress signals, like sweating and increased heart rate, in those with misophonia than those without the condition.

Misophonia Causes and Treatment

One study found that people with misophonia had much more brain activity in other areas when they heard common trigger sounds. 

This activity was found in brain parts dealing with fear and long-term memories.

Treatments for misophonia include cognitive behavioral therapy or using white noise or headphones to distract from the sounds. 

For more information about misophonia, contact the Misophonia Association.

Audiologists and Hearing Aids In NYC

While it can be challenging, there are ways to manage misophonia and make life more comfortable.

If you need to see an audiologist and get professional help for your hearing, we can help.

Audio Help Hearing Centers connect you to expert audiologists with years of experience. 

Audio Help Hearing Centers prides itself on delivering specialized hearing solutions in New York and various key locations. 

Audio Help has three New York City offices conveniently located in Manhattan (Chelsea Village, Columbus Circle, and Park Avenue) and additional offices in Scarsdale, NY (Westchester County) and Stamford, CT.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!