Does the sound of someone chewing make you cringe? Does whistling make you want to head for the nearest exit? Does a ticking clock disrupt your concentration to the point of annoyance? If any of these are true, along with a laundry list of other sounds that cause panic or discomfort, you may have misophonia.
Misophonia, also known as Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome, is literally translated as “the hatred of sound”. However, a person with misophonia does not just hate every sound. There are specific symptoms and triggers that cause a response and while it’s true that any sound can become a problem for someone with misophonia, typical triggers include background noises. Misophonia however goes beyond the common aversion to “nails on a chalkboard” and can even cause some people to lash out at the source of the trigger sound, react in a “fight or flight” manner or distance themselves from the source of the sound. Understanding this is an important factor for those with the condition, as well as those who spend time with someone who suffers from misophonia, to ensure happy, healthy and lasting relationships.
First coined by Audiologists Pawel and Margaret Jasteboff in the year 2000, misophonia typically starts at a younger age and is more common with girls, according to the research available today. Although fairly new in the realm of medical conditions, misophonia is getting much more attention today than ever before. Misophonia clinics have popped up around the country, more than a dozen to date, to offer sound therapy combined with psychological testing. Sufferers of misophonia have also found a home for support on the internet. Social media groups and online support groups are readily available and growing. The Misophonia Association has chapters across the country.
Although not classified as a neurological, auditory or psychiatric condition, there are many experts in the medical community who believe that it is indeed a neurological condition. Researchers Edelstein, Brang, Row and Ramachandran have studied misophonia in depth and their testing revealed some very interesting facts. Among them, “the underlying neurological cause of this condition may be similar to that of synesthesia in terms of enhanced connectivity between relevant brain regions. In short, a pathological distortion of connections between the auditory cortex and limbic structures could cause a form of sound-emotion synesthesia.”
Chiropractic Neurologists, experts in brain-based care are uniquely suited to work with misophonia patients. Chiropractic Neurologists work to restore the brain back to optimal functioning through natural therapies. Once appropriate brain activity is restored many symptoms disappear. This is possible via neural plasticity which means that the brain is constantly able to grow new connections and regenerate the cells that comprise its structure and function. This activity allows the brain to be rehabilitated just like a muscle, which can be exercised and strengthened and has shown great promise for the treatment of little understood disorders such as misophonia. As with any medical condition, your first line of defense should be to talk with your doctor about symptoms that you are experiencing.