Misophonia

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”, is a rarely diagnosed neuropsychiatric disorder in which negative emotions (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft. The term was coined by American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff and is sometimes referred to as selective sound sensitivity syndrome.

Symptoms and Triggers

The definition of Misophonia is hatred of sound. People with Misophonia have specific symptoms and triggers and are sensitive to selective sounds and occasionally are sensitive to visual triggers as well. These problematic sounds are usually in the background but any sound or noise can be a problem to a person with Misophonia. Other people do not seem to take notice of these sounds or are not sensitive to them and therefor have no negative reaction to being exposed to them. Each person suffering from Misophonia will have their own symptoms and triggers which can be referred to as their trigger set. Sounds can be added or subtracted from this dynamic collection over time.

When a person with Misophonia is exposed to a sound in their trigger set, it results in an immediate negative emotional response. This response can range from moderate discomfort to acute annoyance or go all the way up to full-fledged rage and panic. Fight or flight reactions can occur. While experiencing a trigger event, a person may become agitated, defensive or offensive, distance themselves from the trigger or possibly act out and express anger or rage at the source of the offending sound. Additional reactions may include emotional distress and panic.

To help a non-affected person understand the impact Misophonia has on someone with the disorder, they might be asked to imagine how they feel and react when they hear the sound of fingernails being scraped down a chalk board. Most people dislike this sound and will probably ask the person to stop! However, this example falls short of reaching the intensity a Misophonia sufferer experiences and lacks the strong negative emotional component that is elicited. Not liking something (even if very strongly) is unlikely to cause a person to involuntarily feel like lashing out at the source of the offending sound or result in an actual fight or flight reflex.

Often, it is the people who are the closest to the person with Misophonia who elicit the worst triggers. As one can imagine, this can make personal relationships difficult or at the least, produce some amount of stress. A person with Misophonia may anticipate having a problem in an environment known to include trigger sounds which can result in limited social activities. Taken to an extreme, a person with Misophonia can become socially isolated and pull back from family and friends in an attempt to reduce the stress brought on by exposure to their triggers sounds.

The workplace can become an issue when a person with Misophonia is put into a position in which they have little input in shaping the environment in which they will be asked to work. A coworker munching on food may be too distracting or could produce a full-fledged panic attack. An environment that will not or can not accommodate the needs of a sound sensitive person can result in anxiety for the person with Misophonia and challenges for supervisory staff. At times, the sound environment can be enough of a problem to make keeping the job intolerable. A school environment can be similar; having a long-term negative impact if it interferes with the child’s ability to learn or socialize.

People with Misophonia can be reticent when it comes to sharing their symptoms and triggers with others. There are several outcomes possible. A person’s friends and family will need to be educated about what Misophonia is and its effects on a person with this disorder. Once made aware, they may be supportive or become part of the problem. Some insensitive people can be dismissive of the disorder and sufferer’s have reported being mocked and have had people purposefully make offending noises (at times exaggerating them as well). A person with Misophonia may be told to “get over it,” “stop being so difficult,” or “grow up.” Obviously, these reactions do not help the stress incurred by those with selective sound sensitivity syndrome (another word for Misophonia).

Misophonia Treatment

We are proud to provide our patients with a successful:
Tinnitus, Hyperacusis And Misophonia Treatment
conducted accordingly to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation,
First Clinical Practice Guideline on Tinnitus to more than 300 patients annually.

We are conducting and performing Tinnitus, Hyperacusis & Misophonia Treatments only with the family physician’s approval after no other medical issues are present or relevant. Still, a referral is not needed but is recommended. Treatment is based on a series of visits with the initial assessments, treatment and follow up sessions and may take up to 24 months.

Assessment includes: specialized hearing assessment, tinnitus oriented questionnaires as well as testing of its pitch and intensity, counselling on tinnitus and choosing designed for the specific person individual treatment plan.

* TREATMENT IS BASED ON USING, COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY or its elements, SOUND THERAPY and/or AMPLIFICATION which may include a combination of devices or noise generators and individual counseling. People treated will be using hearing aid / noise generator combination covered partially by OHIP ( ADP ) and all private insurance plans as well as work benefits, ODSP, WSIB, and Ontario Works. Veterans are providing full coverage of the cost of instruments and treatments.

MEASURED AND VERIFIED TRT TREATMENT RATIO OF SUCCESS IS 85% TO 90%.

Metro Hearing and Tinnitus Treatment Clinic was featured on Global National News in a segment treating/diagnosing Misophonia. Our specialist Janusz Tobola and one of our success stories Mr. Kevin Horton were interviewed for the TV program. Misophonia affects approximately 1 out of 10 people, if you think you or your loved one might suffer from Misophonia or Tinnitus please do not hesitate to call us or email us for an assessment. For more information you can also view our video testimonials on our website or on YouTube. Thank You.

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