If you have ever sat by someone eating chips and wanted to rip the bag out of their hand, you have experienced a lesser form of Misophonia, sound sensitivity, a type of Auditory Processing Disorder. The crinkling of the bags and the sound of the person crunching and chewing is enough to send you out of the room.
A new article in the Journal of Current Biology shows just what is happening in the brain of a person with Misophonia, sensitivity to sounds. I will tell you, “sensitivity to sound” is a major understatement. The study shows that the person’s brain actually goes into a “fight or flight” stress response as indicated by MRI. This happens because negative emotions are linked to the noise that is bothersome. Many times the person has a trigger. One family that had huge success at Leigh Brain & Spine in overcoming the challenges presented by Misophonia provides the perfect example. In this case, the brother’s bodily noises created an extreme stress response for his sister. She was sensitive to other sounds, but not to the degree that her brother’s irritated her. It would send her off the charts, an 11 out of 10 stress response. You can imagine how their family was. Want to know how the benefit? Check out their Success Story Here.
What Does a Misophonia Brain Map Look Like?
What this would look like in a person’s qEEG Brain Map is an elevated beta brainwave brain pattern, much like anxiety would look like, but to an extreme. Thus, DIY strategies for reducing the symptoms of Misophonia are many of the same strategies for decreasing Stress and Anxiety. Symptoms of Misophonia can be worse for the person when he or she is overall more stressed. Therefore, keeping stress levels down will help the cause. This is the primary strategy for keeping Misophonia at bay.
Another case study article relates Misophonia to irregular patterns in the brain within the auditory processing areas that are in charge of the neural processing of sound information. Misophonia, fear of sound, has been called the lesser-known sibling of Tinnitus, ringing in the ears, along with Hyperacusis, sensitivity to sound in a new study. Scientists have related the three sound sensitivities and have parsed out how the brain is impacting the person’s ability to process sound.
Now that you know what causes Misophonia, what can you do to get rid of it? That is the real question. Below are some suggestions for reducing the impact of Misophonia on your life.
Strategies for Reducing Misophonia:
- Neurofeedback Therapy: Neurofeedback Therapy is effective at changing (read improving) the brain patterns that cause sound sensitivities. When the brain performs auditory processing better, the Misophonia decreases.
- Meditation: Has been shown to help balance the brain patterns that cause sound sensitivities, thus helping to reduce them.
Many times the person will start by trying to cope better and then will move on to reducing the urges they have.
Tips for Coping:
- Ear Plugs / Earbuds with music
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Eat away from others / “trigger” person or people
- Background noise in-home – music, to drown out noises that bother