Misophonia: The Hatred of Sound
The idea behind HSP Review was to help other people with high sensitivity. Sharing my good and bad experiences would help others make decisions on different aspects of their lives. I feel I am giving good advice, and that feels great.
However, with Misophonia, you are on your own. This has been the one struggle in my life that I cannot handle, and if anything, it seems to be getting worse with each year.
What is Misophonia?
The word comes from the Greek words miso, meaning “hate,” and phon meaning “sound.” It’s also known as Selective Sound Sensitivity. Misophonia is a reaction to particular sounds that creates intense emotions, including anger, a flight or fight response, and increased heart rate and sweating.
Although the cause is unknown, MRI brain scans have shown much more brain activity when a person with Misophonia hears certain sounds. Most people don’t even know this exists except the people who have it and their families, so it can be hard to explain how stressful it is.
I know that all physical, social, and emotional stimuli will affect people with high sensitivity. As we all know, this can be good and bad depending on the circumstances. As the years have passed, I better understand what is happening to me when I react, and I am better at controlling it if it is an adverse reaction. Or try to take me out of the situation.
I now know what clothes to buy so they don't drive me crazy, which was a huge win. Have you ever been in a situation where you can't think because you can feel a tag on the back of your neck? Then in anger, you try to cut it out and create a hole because you are trying to get every bit of it.
Some fabrics make a rustling sound when you walk; you can't cope with those at all. Through trial and error, I know what materials to avoid, so that part of my life is now a comfortable bubble.
Misophonia & Eating Noises
Eating is the one that triggers me the most. Hearing a fork or knife hit the plate is like a high-pitched scream or hearing someone chewing, and eating is like nails on a chalkboard. Also, why is there always someone super loud that you can hear in a restaurant above everyone else? I should not hear the conversations going on at the tables around me – why do people do that?
My anxiety and anger in reaction to so many sounds are unbearable. For years I couldn't understand why the people around me were not as bothered by sounds as I was. Finding a name for something is always better and realizing others are out there.
I am unsure if all highly sensitive people experience this particular trait as much as I do; I assume each of us has one stronger trait than others.
Misophonia & Work
The open work environment was a nightmare where I could hear everyone doing something: loud typing, someone clicking a pen non-stop, talking so loudly, OMG, SOMEONE EATING. I would have to get up and walk to another floor or outside for a bit.
Some offices weren't so bad; others were miserable. I let some people around me know how badly it affected me, but that didn't work out so well.
One, in particular, would continue to make lots of noise while smiling at me, and if I said anything, it would be I couldn't take a joke. So, I don't advise doing that, but in fairness, I'm not sure if anyone who does not have this understands how much it affects you.
I am still working on ways to minimize any noise that triggers me, and thankfully I have a very supportive family who helps as much as they can. I have not found a solution, but I keep trying. Earphones can help sometimes. Having music or the tv on in the background during meal times also helps.
So, this post probably won't help anyone with Misophonia, but at least you will know that it's not just you – others are going through the same thing. It is always helpful to know you are not alone.
In my shop, I sell t-shirts with quotes about being highly sensitive and many ones about Misophonia. They make me laugh, and only people who have it will genuinely get the joke – sadly, I could probably create 400 t-shirts about Misophonia with all my angry thoughts about sounds. I will hold that in check for now.
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