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Misophonia Information

Misophonia is sometimes called Soft Sound Sensitivity Syndrome or 4S. Misophonia is characterized by a very strong negative reaction to particular body or environmental sounds, called “triggers” usually but not always associated with those sounds being produced by particular people and / or in certain situations. Triggers can also be visual or associated with certain environmental settings, thoughts or other sensory contacts like smell or touch. Triggers often can have an “anticipatory” stage which occurs before a trigger sound is actually experienced.

Misophonia is NOT a fear or hatred of ALL sound. It is an abnormally strong negative reaction of the autonomic and limbic systems of the brain to SPECIFIC sounds. Misophonia refers behaviorally to a fight or flight reaction to specific meaningful sounds or events associated with those sounds. Researchers agree that Misophonia appears to be an unconscious reaction from the emotional part of the brain (this is a simplified statement as not confuse people reading this!).

Typically Misophonia occurs in childhood, often during early adolescence, but can also occur in adulthood. It typically begins with a sudden onset after some emotionally significant even associated with a first “trigger” sound and environmental situation associated with a strong emotional event. Misophonia can sometimes be associated with other neurological conditions like head trauma and autism spectrum disorders.

Classic Misophonia is most frequently associated with “mouth” noises such as eating, chewing, breathing, lip smacking, licking, whistling or the sound of certain speech sounds. Most commonly, reactions begin in response to particular individuals only, typically parents or siblings. Pen clicking, rustling paper, keyboard clicks, etc. Many patients report being in an apprehensive state even before encountering a sound trigger. This appears to be part of hypervigilance or monitoring attention process or just an anticipatory anxiety.

Everyone has a sound that “irritates” them but Misophonia is not just irritating. Patients with clinically significant Misophonia may show psychological, neurological or developmental conditions that may be primary to Misophonia or secondary to it. Some examples include: hyperacusis, tinnitus, hearing loss, photophobia, acoustic shock, tonic tensor tympani syndrome, family relational problems, intermittent explosive disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, Bell’s palsy, superior canal dehiscence, perilymph fistula, stapedotomy, hearing loss, tinnitus, Lyme disease, epilepsy, and drug withdrawal.