You know that anxious, aggressive or even downright angry feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the person sitting next to you sits down with a bowl of extra crunchy cereal and you know what’s coming–the clanking of a spoon on ceramic, the sharp sound of metal against teeth and then the chewing. The loud, loud, LOUD chewing. It never seems to end and the gripping in the pit of your stomach and your inability to focus on anything else can wreak havoc on your morning and the rest of your day. But guess what? You’re not alone.
What is Misophonia?
The reactions we’ve just described belong to a person who suffers from misophonia–also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome–and it literally translates to mean a hatred of sound. While the levels of misophonia vary from one person to the next, on the mild end, sufferers might feel annoyed by trigger noises (which are often oral sounds such as chewing, coughing or heavy breathing), but on the severe end can lead to feelings of rage, panic, hatred and even suicidal thoughts.
Though not overly discussed in a public forum to date, misophonia can and does put a serious cramp in the lifestyle of the people who deal with it on a day-to-day basis. So what are the best way to ease your reactions when you’re sensitive to sound?
Explain your circumstances
Of course it might not seem ideal to have to go to your boss, coworkers or friends and explain that you have this strange disorder that isn’t really widely known, but it really is the best solution for eliminating your triggers. Ask others to try let you know when they will be doing something that might make you anxious so you can leave the room or put in earplugs or headphones.
Get rest and exercise
In general an unhealthy lifestyle can lead you to already being irritable before you even find yourself in a circumstance where sounds might set off your anxiety. Save yourself the hassle and ensure that you are putting your health and wellness at the forefront at all times by getting plenty of sleep and exercise, as well as maintaining a healthy diet.
See your doctor
If your symptoms are so severely that your reaction begin to affect multiple areas of your life, as well as your relationships, it could be worth discussing with your doctor. Specialize clinics can now offer sound therapy as well as sound-distributing hearing aids that can help counteract some of the sounds that may cause you distress.