What is behind of decreased tolerance to specific sounds?
You have probably encountered people who cannot stand some specific sounds as chewing, slurping, tapping, clicking, those sounds elicit intense emotions ranging from anger and annoyance to panic or the need to flee. This disorder is called “misophonia”, which stems from Greek words “hate” and “sound”. Those who struggle from misophonia not only dislike certain sounds or noise, they cannot stand them, the sounds literally drive them insane. Many cases generally start during childhood. Children develop this disorder between the ages of 9 to 12.
Uskudar University NPİSTANBUL Brain Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Emrah Gules shared his viewpoint on misophonia and its treatment.
Hatred of sound
The term “misophonia” comes from Greek “hatred” and “sound” and literally means “hatred of sounds”. The roots of this disorder is still unknown, nevertheless, specialists tend to evaluate it as a psychiatric condition, which definitly should be taken seriously and should be treated as well. The sound of munching, chewing, slurping, tapping, clicking and even watches sound when running cause uncontrolled abnormally strong negative reactions and feelings in people who suffer from misophonia. A common feature of all the mentioned above sounds is repetition. People with misophonia not simply dislike those sounds, they cannot stand them, that is why, they try to avoid social places and sometimes even family dinners.
Appears in childhood
Misophonia is likely to be diagnosed in women rather than men. The condition starts developing in childhood, between the ages 9 to 12. Unfortunately, we still do not know for sure the triggers that cuase this disease. However, what is known is that misophonia is a brain dirorder that might result from hyperactivation of the mirror neuron system. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach, including a pscyhiatric and neurological examination, can be a key to success in treatment. Misophonia is often diagnosed in people with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and Tourette syndrome. Besides, there are patients, who struggle from tinnitis as well, thus, an ENT consultation may be of use.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Psychiatrist Emrah Gules states that there is still no single and common protocol of misophonia treatment. However, cognitive behavioural therapy and desensitization therapy, which helps to diminish emotional responsivness to negative stimulus, can show a health condition to advantage.