Misophonia is a highly sensitive issue, and most of the population has never heard of it.
When I first learned of the term about three years ago, articles called it a rare neurological disorder. For about 57 years, I thought I was the only person on the planet who experienced the symptoms. This week I joined a misophonia support group with thousands of members. The common experiences between us could feel a little surreal.
Also called ‘Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome,’ misophonia (I once read) literally means the hatred of sound. But that gives a wrong impression. Speaking from my experience, it is more an involuntary deep revulsion towards certain sounds, so powerful that it totally disrupts normal activity. Many people don’t like sounds like fingernails scraping across a blackboard. But misophoniacs experience something much deeper than dislike. It is like fingernails scraping across my bare nerves.
Trigger sounds include chewing, crunching, slurping, gulping, sniffing, yawning, clinking, repetitive mechanical noises and more.
What an interesting challenge to choose for myself in this incarnation!
It is fascinating to learn that many misophoniacs like me also experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears/head), test high as Highly Sensitive Persons, and have Asperger’s or a related syndrome. I have not been diagnosed as being anywhere on the Autism Disorder Spectrum, but have noticed similarities between myself and others who have.
I use the term misophoniac lightly as a coined term and not to identify myself with the symptoms. I am not my misophonia, rather it is one of my life challenges which hides gifts still to be discovered.
Also intriguing is that misophoniacs developed the same coping mechanisms such as mimicking the torturing sound for relief (which can offend others,) or walking away, which of course can disrupt social situations. In my teens I perfected a Clint Eastwood glare and would burn holes through people whose normal noises tormented me.
I will not violate the privacy of support group members (real names not used,) but in the interest of making misophonia more known among the general population, following are some excerpts from our thread created this week.
[Gary, in response to a comment] – Yes, it seems to me that endorphins released in training could lesson one’s resistance towards trigger sounds. Our bodies are bio-chemical, and emotions are also stimulated by the release of chemicals. However, I feel there is a root cause of triggers and our felt experience with them that underlies any physiological explanation.
When I am more centered and relaxed in myself, I am not as easily triggered as when stressed by other factors. I can consciously influence this some simply by focusing on breathing and relaxing. That speaks to my way of managing the trigger effect. What is behind or beneath it all is something else.
Jessica, you wrote, ‘in a sense they (miso triggers) are all sensory processing issues, as if the central nervous system is stuck on volume 10 constantly.’
It is fascinating to me to find that some other misophoniacs also test high for HSP and have tinnitus as well as other ‘complications.’
I like to get beneath the physiological explanations to explore a possible root cause. There may be more than one root cause among all with miso (doesn’t that sound like Japanese soup?)
The deeper root which speaks to me is that some with misophonia are mutants foreshadowing a new type of human, and the revulsion towards certain triggers is essentially a reaction towards the underlying mis-alignment of frequencies.
My Introductory Post in the Misophonia Support Group
I am Gary Smith and looking forward to ‘meeting’ you. As a way of introduction, here are some bullets of my experience with misophonia:
• My 1st memory of misophonia is from about 5 years of age, at the dinner table with my family.
• Misophonia has been one of the primary demons of my life. Reactive anger, another demon, may be associated with the misophonia.
• I suspect that within the challenge of misophonia there are hidden gifts.
• Misophonia has significantly affected and shaped my life, such as by contributing to my decision to not attend classroom education after high school. It severely impacted my first marriage.
• I did not realize until much later in life (than I would have liked) that I was not the only one to suffer from my misophania. Others around me, such as my first wife, suffered much from my intolerance of her normal noises.
• To get to the roots of my ‘hyper-sensitivity,’ I asked my dad if he remembered anything unusual about my birth. He wrote that I screamed above all the other newborns in the hospital ward.
• In the 80s and 90s, I diligently sought treatment and went to more than thirty conventional and alternative health practitioners. Some had unique ideas but none had a clue about the cause of my symptoms or knew of any other cases. Nothing I tested was effective.
• Two audiologists who tested my hearing said I hear in a volume far lower than usual. The one in Germany told me through a translator that I hear sounds I ‘shouldn’t be hearing.’
• I first learned of the terms misophonia and selective sound sensitivity syndrome about 3 years ago. That was when I learned I am not the only one! At that time little was known about it and articles said that the ‘neurological disorder’ is rare. An article found today says that about 20% of the population is affected.
• About ten years ago, tinnitus showed up and there has been a loud high pitched ringing in my ears/head since then. I read an article yesterday which makes a connection between tinnitus and misophonia. I am interested to know how many with misophonia also experience tinnitus.
• I tested very high as a Highly Sensitive Person on Dr. Elaine Aron’s online self test. I am interested to know how many with misophonia also test high as HSP’s.
• While being a house parent with my wife to at-risk teenaged boys, I observed that I share some similarities in social behavior with one of the young man, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have never been diagnosed, and it remains a curiosity.
• Recently I have developed tools for my own use which have significantly helped me to manage misophonia and the accompanying angry reactivity. I see myself becoming a new person. My wife appreciates the progress as much as I do.
Jessica, I need to look up LD, but in general your comment is fascinating to me because of the commonalities between us (in this group) in our experiences and also in our seemingly related ‘conditions.’ I do not see any of it as a defect or even disorder, though it can make our lives more disorderly. I see it as hidden gifts, buried under the challenges we face. HSP definitely has some gifts and I would not choose to be otherwise despite the difficulties of it.
– Today two new audio sessions arrived from the engineer. He mixes my spoken affirmations of the 9 elements of empowerment with the brainwave frequencies. One of the two today is a low pitched sound, specifically for tinnitus. It can take 30 days of listening to form new neural pathways, and this is an experiment. I would be glad to share this mp3 file with anyone in the group who wants to try it (need stereo headphones or earbuds) and give me your feedback.
I am not selling anything at this point, just sharing. The initial intention of these custom audio sessions is for my own inner work and symptom alleviation. The spoken affirmations go in and out of audible range. I personally don’t listen to anything I know is subliminal without knowing the words used, so here they are:
Breathe, Relax, Let Go, Be Grateful, Straighten the Spine, Center in the Heart, Ask and Listen Within, Give and Receive Freely, Feel Being.
AUDIO SESSIONS FOR FREE DOWNLOAD (MP3)
1) The sessions may seem long and repetitive. They are for brainwave entrainment, not entertainment.
2) Some portions may seem chaotic. They are. It is part of getting the brain’s attention.
3) Headphones or earbuds are required.
4) Best to listen at a time when there are no distractions from the ‘outside.’ At least, please turn off the cell!
5) Everyone is different, so any effects will be according to the person and setting.
6) A person does not have to be a misophoniac to benefit from the audio sessions. None of these three are specific to misophonia. The low tones addresses tinnitus, which is often associated with misophonia.
7) Another audio session is in the works, and it is specific to misophonia by providing de-sensitizing sounds.
8) It can take 30 days or more to form new neural networks. The sessions are not for instant results but for those who are willing to experiment and have perseverance.
9) No claims are made for the sessions. Feedback of a review nature will be appreciated.
For more details about the technology used, or with any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact me.
001 includes the Solfeggio frequencies with repetitive tribal drumming. The 9 elements fade in and out of audible range.
002 is the 9 elements with low tones specifically designed to address tinnitus.
003 has soothing ocean sounds with clear piano notes and brainwaves to enhance mood.
I play these in shuffle or loop mode and enjoy their diversity. After testing several headphones and earbuds, I am getting closer to a setup which is comfortable enough to wear over the day or to sleep with while wearing at night.
Originally published at www.wholehuman.emanatepresence.com