What is Misophonia or Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome?

August 24th, 2015 | by Andreas Seelisch | Hearing Health
What is Misophonia or Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome?

Misophonia causes sufferers to experience irritation or even rage at certain sounds like chewing food.

In 2002 research couple Margaret and Pawel Jastreboff coined the term Misophonia, which literally means ‘hatred of sound.’ Misophonia describes a condition where certain noises can elicit annoyance, disgust, panic, agitation or even rage in those who suffer from it.

Also known as Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome or 4S, Misophonia can result in social isolation, as sufferers of the condition try to avoid social settings and therefore any offending sounds. The offending sounds are usually ones you may hear in the background that don’t appear to bother anyone else, except the person with Misophonia.

Trigger Sounds

According to a 2013 study at the University of Amsterdam the most common sound irritants or trigger sounds are:

  • Eating sounds, like lip smacking, chewing and swallowing
  • Breathing sounds such as sneezing and nostril noises
  • Hand sounds like typing and pen clicking

Responses to these irritants can even include verbal or physical aggression.

Triggers can be visual and may also be related to sound, including:

  • Foot shuffling
  • Fidgeting
  • Hair twirling
  • Nail biting

Early data suggests that the instance of Misophonia could be related to a hyper-connectivity between the auditory and limbic systems. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for generating emotions.

Studies have shown a link between Misophonia and psychiatric conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Still many sufferers don’t have any other major emotional issues.

Hearing loss is not the cause of this lifelong condition most often seen in females. Misophonia often begins to present itself between the ages of 9 and 13.

What treatment is there for Misophonia?

  • Psychological counselling
  • Talk therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Hearing aids that mask or distract from trigger sounds, similar to the treatment for tinnitus

For more information you can speak with your physician or check out Misophonia Online.

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