Understanding Misophonia and How it Can Trigger Negative Emotional Responses

Most people have not heard of misophonia. But it’s important to know about this condition because if you or someone you love develops it, it can have a big impact on the quality of life.

Misophonia is a condition in which sounds affect you in a negative way. For example, if you have misophonia you may become angry or even enraged when you hear the sound of someone chewing their food.

At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage a full range of hearing-related conditions, including misophonia. Read on to learn about this condition, and how it can trigger negative emotional responses.

About misophonia

The word misophonia means “hatred of sound,” according to the National Institutes of Health. People with misophonia can experience an uncontrollable negative emotional reaction to certain sounds that may occur in their environment every day. 

For example, if you have misophonia you may become upset or angry when you hear other people chewing food or gum, breathing, drumming their fingers on a surface, typing, coughing, or sneezing. Barking dogs or other sounds may also trigger a reaction.

These everyday sounds can provoke a range of emotional responses, such as:

Although misophonia is a condition related to sound, it is actually considered more of a brain problem than a hearing problem. Researchers still have much to learn about this condition, but it's believed to occur as the result of irregularities in parts of the brain that control the processing and regulating of emotions.  

Misophonia typically begins during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, and worsens over time.

Managing misophonia

The type of treatments used to manage misophonia depending on how much the condition affects your life. Some treatments that may help include various types of mental health counseling and therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and sound therapy. Antidepressant medication may also help.

With sound therapy, which is also known as misophonia retraining therapy, you listen to pleasant sounds during a carefully calibrated program designed to reduce your reaction to trigger sounds. Over time, this can desensitize you to your triggers.

In addition, your care provider here at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals may recommend tools such as noise-canceling headphones or custom-made earmolds. It’s important to use these tools only under the supervision of an experienced hearing care provider because improper use could make you more sensitive to trigger sounds.

Total care for your hearing health

If you’re experiencing any types of hearing loss or hearing-related problems, don’t wait any longer to have a hearing evaluation, hearing test, or audiology consultation. To make an appointment, contact one of our offices in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, or Santa Monica, California.

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