*** Be sure to visit our support forum at www.misophonia.info/Forum ***
Symptoms and Triggers
Misophonia – literally the hatred of sound -can be defined as a hypersensitivity to background sounds or visual stimuli that are generally ignored by other people. More importantly than the individuals inability to block out the offending stimuli or “trigger” is the acute negative emotional response experienced as a direct result of being in contact with a trigger.
The response has been described as a reflexive emotional flood of rage and panic with a storm of fight-or-flight reactions becoming paramount. Adrenaline flooding, face flushing, heart-pounding and/or shaking and the need to physically flee or attack are often experienced. The mindful thoughts that the emotional reflex/response is unreasonable given the facts of the stimulus is often actually harmless come only after the fight-or-flight response is in full force and the affected person may find themselves in a constant mode of “talking themselves down” into a normal state of calm.
The majority of trigger stimuli are counted as harmless or just part of every day to day life by the “normal” person, but to a person inflicted with Misophonia, they are a tremendous burden, often the analogy of nails down a chalk board or exposed nerves have been used to describe the disturbing response.
Often a sufferer is forced into a life of isolation, shrinking away from the general population and the offending triggers, not by choice but out of necessity for their sanity. Many withdraw from social occasions due to the fear and anxiety caused that a trigger may be present. Often relationships are destroyed due to misunderstandings and misdirected negativity. Work opportunities are reduced or obliterated altogether.
When asked how they feel, a sufferer will often detail the tremendous levels of guilt and turmoil they feel due to their reaction, their fear of an ever collapsing tolerance and the ever increasing restrictions imposed on them by the condition.
Although the initial list of Triggers was thought to be focused around soft sounds or eating and bodily noises it has since been identified that an ever increasing list of audio and visual stimuli may trigger the above reaction. Not everyone who has this condition is affected equally, with some being unaffected by trigger noises that torments others, while others still seem to have no negative response visual stimuli but are completely overcome by sounds.
A full list of Trigger Stimuli can be found on our public and private forums by clicking here, but an extract from that list can be found below:
- MOUTH & EATING
crunching, sucking, smacking, chewing, swallowing, talking with food in mouth, burping, silverware scraping teeth, Gum chewing and popping, Gulping, slurping, water bottle squeezing, ahhs after drinking tooth sucking, wet mouth sounds, kissing sounds, spitting, nail biting Toothbrushing, Flossing, plastic bags opening or being rubbed
Loud breathing, soft breathing, yawning, snoring, nose whistling, wheezing, sniffling, snorting throat clearing, coughing, hocking phlegm, hiccups
S & P sounds, Sibilance humming, whistling, singing gravelly voices, nasally voices, soft whispery voices overused words such as um or ah muffled talking tv laugh tracks
- BODY MOVEMENT RELATED
Foot shuffling (dry feet on floor), heels, flip flops, heavy footsteps, Hand and Foot Rubbing, Knuckle/Joint Cracking, Nail biting, clipping, Finger Tapping, scratching Eye blinking
- VISUAL (Sound Related)
eating, chewing gum
- VISUAL(NOT necessarily SOUND RELATED)
Repetitive foot or body movements, hair twirling, hands near mouth, fidgeting, nervous tics, blinking eyes, Blinking lights, web animations, movements out of the corner of eyes
Gadgets: Clicking from texting, keyboard/mouse, tv remote, pen clicking, writing sounds, , Papers Rustling / Ripping, Ticking clocks Utensils: Dishes clattering, silverware hitting plates or other silverware, crinkling food packages. Wrappers, plastic bags crinkling rustling. Traffic, Construction Noise, Lawnmowers, Bouncing Balls, back-up beepers Other People’s muffled / bass music or TV through walls, cars, or portable audio devices. electronic humming. Dogs barking, Bird sounds, crickets, frogs, dogs or cat licking, drinking, eating. Dripping Water. Water pouring, car doors slamming, ticking clocks, floors creaking / Squeaking Low frequency sounds such as base or muffled speaking, rattling, rattling change in pockets
Photo on front page By Squirmelia http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirmelia/