Misophonia: Why Certain Sounds Drive Some People Crazy

Misophonia is a little understood, under-studied condition. If you have it, there are certain sounds that trigger a very strong, negative emotional response. 

For example, the sound of someone chewing may make you so angry you find it difficult to control yourself. You may continue to hear the sound in your mind even after it stops, and the negative emotions may take several hours to fade. 

Although misophonia is relatively rare — and only recently recognized as a medical condition — Dr. Kevin Sharim at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals is experienced in recognizing and treating it. If you suspect you or someone you love has misophonia, schedule a consultation so Dr. Sharim can help. 

What experts know about misophonia

There aren’t many studies on misophonia and it’s not listed in many medical manuals. That means that people who have it don’t have many options for help, and may have even been dismissed or misdiagnosed by medical professionals. 

Some recent, small studies are beginning to make headway into developing a better understanding of misophonia. For example, one study published in 2017 suggests that brain activity in people with misophonia is different than that of people without the disorder. 

The study included a group of people with misophonia and a group without the disorder. Both groups listened to recordings of neutral sounds and sounds that are frequent triggers for people with misophonia. The group with misophonia rated the negative sounds as extremely disturbing, while those without simply rated them as negative. 

Along with the rating, those with misophonia experienced classic signs of stress, like an increased heart rate and sweating. They also had much more activity in a particular part of their brains than those without misophonia. 

Studies like this one are only a beginning, of course. Larger studies need to be conducted to confirm the findings and explore them more thoroughly. However, it’s an important beginning because it shows that misophonia is a real, physical condition. 

How an audiologist can help

There’s some disagreement about how misophonia should be classified. Is it a mood disorder? A physical disorder? A chronic condition? Because so little is known, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help.

Dr. Sharim can help in a few different ways. First, he can make sure that your issue isn’t related to something else, like tinnitus. If he determines that misophonia is the most likely cause of your issues, he offers various therapies. 

Misophonia retraining therapy may help reduce your reaction to your trigger sounds. Noise-cancelling headphones for those times you’re likely to be exposed to your trigger sounds could make your life easier. 

It’s important to work with a health care professional like Dr. Sharim who takes your problems seriously and understands that just because the research community doesn’t know much about your condition, misophonia may still have an enormous impact on your life. If you’d like to learn more about misophonia, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharim at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals. 

We have four convenient locations, in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California. Simply call the location that works best for you to schedule your appointment or book one online today. 

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