Which tone first triggered your misophony
Misophony - When everyday noises become torture
Do you know the feeling when the screeching of chalk on the blackboard or the scratching of a fork on your plate gives you a real shiver? Certain noises in our environment have this unpleasant effect on many of us. Now imagine if you had this feeling with everyday noises, for example other people chewing noises or the sound of a keyboard. Affected people who suffer from so-called misophonia, these noises can drive them downright insane. But what does it exactly mean?
How misophonia can manifest itself, what cause it has and how it can be treated, you will find out in this article:
Our feelers to the world
The sense of hearing is the first sense with which the unborn person perceives his environment. Before we can see the world with our own eyes, we already perceive sounds in our mother's belly and can distinguish the voices around us. Our ears are therefore, figuratively speaking, also described as "feelers to the world" with which we process more than twice as many sensory impressions as with our eyes.
Accordingly, our sense of hearing plays an important role in our lives and can trigger positive as well as negative emotions in us. Most people react to certain noises, such as the squeaking of blackboard, in a similarly uncomfortable way. However, if neutral noises repeatedly trigger negative emotions in our everyday life, one speaks of a misophony.
The term misophony is derived from the Greek words “miso” (hate) and “phonie” (sound). In short, the misophony describes the hatred of a certain tone.
While a baby's crying or the street noise in front of the door are not perceived as particularly annoying, those affected can hardly stand other noises. Often these relate to the noises of our fellow human beings, such as their smacking, drinking or breathing. The misophony is therefore also called selective noise sensitivity syndrome designated.
Causes of Misophonia
Contrary to the simple assumption that the cause of misophonia is to be found in the hearing itself, misophonia cannot be attributed to hearing damage. Rather, researchers discuss the psychological and neural causes of misophonia. It is assumed that certain noises are processed further in our brain in a disturbed manner. As a result, people with misophonia perceive actually insignificant noises as meaningful and find it difficult to fade them out of their consciousness. In other words: the thoughts only revolve around this one sound. In addition, as the disease progresses, the brain can learn to associate these noises with negative aspects. If those affected then perceive the noises, certain brain regions that are responsible for emotional processing are particularly strongly activated.
Those affected name the most frequent emotional reactions Aggression, anger and disgust. So a real hatred of the noise is felt.
Misophonia must therefore be differentiated from so-called phonophobia, in which fearful emotions are in the foreground.
What to do with misophonia: mute the environment?
The negative emotions triggered can trigger enormous levels of suffering in those affected. This can be further intensified by the fact that those affected often encounter incomprehension from their fellow human beings. Since misophony often relates to the sounds of other people, it also harbors a certain potential for conflict. In order to avoid interpersonal problems, those affected sometimes only see one way out of the situation: thesocial withdrawal.
As a result, people with misophonia often take back their own needs so as not to have to repeatedly explain themselves to others. On top of that, further behavioral changes can occur in the course of the disease: In order to avoid confrontation with the noise, those affected partially restructure their everyday life (e.g. they eat dinner alone) or try to drown out the environment with their own noises. After all, there is no mute switch for our environment. As a result, social interactions can be extremely stressful for people with misophonia.
5 tips to overcome misophony
The bottom line is that misophonia can be very tiring for both those affected and their relatives. For this reason, we are giving you 5 tips below on how to overcome misophonia. The best method in each individual case depends on your personal preferences and previous experience.
1Tell yourself to your fellow human beings
You have probably heard the saying that communication is the be-all and end-all. In fact, it is an important step to let your fellow human beings know and to communicate openly which noises you are suffering from. It can help, for example, to educate them about the symptoms of misophonia and thus convey to them how you perceive the world and its background noise. Once this step has been taken, you can find joint solutions for certain situations and, for example, agree on new options for having dinner together (e.g. switching on the radio).
Basically, with misophonia, certain noises can demand full attention and make those affected think of nothing else. In short: our minds are already running at full speed. If stress is added, e.g. through social conflicts, the symptoms of misophonia can be intensified even more. Then our body is under great tension, which in turn can make us more susceptible to certain noises.
You can escape this vicious cycle by releasing some of this tension. Relaxation and breathing exercises can help you relax and regain control of your body and your emotions. There are numerous ways in which you can reduce your stress level and calm down again (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation). Also our online training Fit in stress can support you in this.
In some situations, you just feel like muting the world around you for a moment. Sometimes trigger-free oases can help you to take a little break. You can get to these oases via your headphones, for example, by turning on your favorite music or an exciting audio book. You can also find your resting place spatially, e.g. in your favorite park.
Make yourself aware: you are not alone! Although the term misophony is rarely used in our everyday life, more and more people are concerned with misophonia. The increasing number of those affected suggests that it occurs more frequently than previously thought. Awareness that your symptoms have a name can help you accept them and avoid having to justify or feel partially guilty for the misophonia. You can find various forums on the Internet in which those affected by misophonia can exchange ideas with one another. For example, you can also find other helpful tips there to overcome misophony.
5 Get professional support
While short-term strategies for symptom relief can be helpful, long-term and sustained improvement in misophonia is primarily possible through cognitive behavioral therapy.
As mentioned above, as the disease progresses, the brain can learn to associate certain noises with negative aspects. Behavioral therapy starts right there and tries to break this connection with what is known as counter-conditioning. The trigger-occupied noise is played with increasing frequency, for example, together with pleasant and relaxing tones. As a result, the unpleasant emotional reaction is weakened and can even disappear completely in the course of therapy, because the brain now connects this noise with positive experiences.
The therapy can also help to break down avoidance behavior (such as social withdrawal) and to find a helpful way of dealing with misophonia. You can read about exactly how psychotherapy works in our article on the subject of "Psychotherapy". We have also summarized on our blog how you can find a therapy place.
Listen to you
Basically, it is important to listen to yourself and your body. Which of the tips you feel most comfortable with is entirely up to you. Note, however: the symptoms of misophonia are real and should not be suppressed. You will certainly find the right support to get the misophony under control. The first step is the most important.
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