What is Misophonia?

Have you ever been at the movies and the sound of someone chewing their popcorn and slurping their soda was putting you over the edge. Misophonia feels like that to the sufferer… all the time.

Misophonia is a sensory processing disorder in which negative emotional and physiological responses are elicited by specific, common sounds in the environment. Triggers for misophonia include the sound of someone chewing food or gum, yawning, coughing, or other repetitive noises like the tapping of a pencil or the clicking of a pen.

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People’s bodily noises or even environmental sounds can trigger a fight or flight response, sending the person into a rage or varying degrees of extreme irritation.

These noises can result in many emotional and physiological responses, including a “flight or flight” response, anger, rage, anxiety, discomfort, sweating, heart rate increase, wanting to escape one’s immediate surroundings, and desire to stop the source of the trigger noise. Since common noises generated by people are often triggers for Misophonia, the condition can compromise a person’s quality of life by impacting their ability or desire to socialize and function in a public environment.

Misophonia is considered a selective sound sensitivity because the brain is using an anxious pattern in the auditory processing areas.

What causes Misophonia?

Dysregulation in the areas of the brain that process sound causes Misophonia, activating fear, stress, and anxiety when a person hears the noise(s) that trigger them. The parts of our brain that process sounds are located just above our ears. You can see in this qEEG Brain Map that these brain areas are suffering from neurological dysregulation of the way sound is processed.

A new article in the Journal of Current Biology shows just what is happening in the brain of a person with Misophonia. The study shows that the person’s brain actually goes into a “fight or flight” stress response that can be seen on an fMRI. This happens because negative emotions are linked to the trigger noise(s). What this would look like in a person’s qEEG Brain Map is an elevated beta brainwave brain pattern, much like how anxiety looks.

How do you get rid of Misophonia?

People with Misophonia often use the strategies and care options below to cope with and reduce their noise sensitivities. Neurofeedback is noted by the Misophonia Association as a treatment option with very positive results.

  • Using headphones or earbuds
  • Adding white noise to the person’s environment
  • Using a hearing aid that produces background noise
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Neurofeedback

How can Neurofeedback help Misophonia?

Another science article relates Misophonia to irregular patterns in the brain within the auditory processing areas. These areas are in charge of processing sound information. Since Misophonia has been identified as an irregular brain pattern, it can be regulated through Neurofeedback.

At Leigh Brain & Spine, Dr. Trish Leigh has had great success helping children and adults with Misophonia reduce and completely get rid of their noise sensitivities.

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Leigh Brain and Spine is proud to have earned the distinction as a Certified Brain Health Coach Center and is a proud member of the Amen Clinics referral network.