Do Certain Sounds Make Your Skin Crawl? You’re Not Alone!
Do certain noises bother you? I'm talking about the sound of chewing, clicking of a pen, a dog licking itself, a person whistling, or throat clearing? If you get angry or distressed from these sounds, you may suffer from this little-known condition.
EMOTIONAL REACTIONS TO CERTAIN SOUNDS
Pretty much all of my life, certain noises have driven me crazy. I never could explain it or share it with anyone else. I chalked it up to my "Type A" personality. I just thought it was part of my "DNA". Only people close to me know of my issues with certain sounds and what triggers me. My husband is the only one that knows which things cause me the most anxiety. He becomes my "rock" in those types of situations. My anxiety has gotten better with time, but it still exists.
It's been easy through the years to be honest with my family if something bothers me, but it's not easy to discuss it with others because I don't want to come off as rude or have them wonder if they've triggered me at some point. I can't change my personality, and I wouldn't want them to change theirs when they're around me. It's a balancing act!
A while back, I joked on social media that my dog's licking was driving me crazy. I learned it bothered other people too. I knew then that I wasn't alone! I recently found out there's a medical term for this condition.
Do These Noises Bother You?
WHAT IS MISOPHONIA
If noises like these send you into a rage, you may have Misophonia. When someone told me there was a name for my issue, I had to research more. I needed to find out what made my brain tick the way that it does. I knew that WebMD would have answers to all of my questions.
Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable given the circumstance. Those who have misophonia might describe it as when a sound “drives you crazy.” Their reactions can range from anger and annoyance to panic and the need to flee. The disorder is sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome.
HOW AND AT WHAT AGE DO YOU GET IT?
As I mentioned above, I feel like I've had the condition for most of my life. Based on what WebMD is reporting, I'm not alone.
The age of the onset of this lifelong condition is not known but some people report symptoms between the ages of 9 and 13. Misophonia is more common in girls and comes on quickly, although it doesn’t appear to be related to any one event.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes misophonia, but it’s not a problem with your ears. They think it’s part mental, part physical. It could be related to how sound affects your brain and triggers automatic responses in your body.
A breakthrough study recently found that misophonia is a brain-based disorder. Researchers point to a disruption in the connectivity in parts of the brain that process both sound stimulation and the fight/flight response. It also involves parts of the brain that code the importance of sounds.
HOW YOU CAN MANAGE AND TREAT IT
Sytems are different for everyone. I would say mine are on a medium scale. I don't let it disrupt my life. I have ringing in one ear that bothers me more than other noises that surround me. It's still a big nuisance! At least WebMD has some great advice that will help us get through it.
Treatment often involves a multidisciplinary approach combining sound therapy by audiologists and supportive counseling in which coping strategies are emphasized.
You might try a device like a hearing aid that creates a sound in your ear similar to a waterfall. The noise distracts you from triggers and reduces reactions.
Other treatments include talk therapy. You can also find online and social media groups where people share coping strategies.
Just know that you're not alone, or crazy for feeling like you do. We're in this together!