sMating, breathing loudly, swallowing, swallowing – sounds that few of us love to hear.
But for some, these sounds simply create intense anger and irritation. This is the condition called misophonia.
– I go straight into kill mode. It sounds bad, but I can physically feel the sound in my body. Siv Skogstad Tufte (38) tells KK on the phone that there seems to be a war going on.
For a long time I thought everyone else felt the same way as she did. It was only two years ago that she really realized that the issues she was experiencing were due to misophonia.
– He got off the bus because someone was chewing gum
For as long as Saif could remember, various sounds triggered anger, anxiety, and physical reactions.
– As a child and as a teenager, I remember that I was always annoyed at my father when he ate. Saif says and laughs a bit, especially when he was eating apples – he has a special way of eating apples.
– Every time I hear sounds like that, I go crazy. Then I got slapped for going crazy. But I didn’t think much of it Why I was so annoyed when I was eating with others, I don’t think I realized it was the noise.
All the sounds of eating and breathing stimulate the reeds: banging, loud breathing, sniffing, chewing gum, swallowing drinks.
For three years I attended a boarding school where the pupils ate their meals in the dining hall.
– Then I usually ate too fast, or I stopped eating, says Saif.
– I got off the bus because someone was chewing gum. I get so angry, I think everyone is making noises to annoy me – and then I get angry.
This is misophonia
People with misophonia have trouble hearing certain sounds.
Misophonia literally means dislike of sound. The term is also under sound rage and selective sound sensitivity syndrome. A characteristic of misophonia is that a person reacts with anger, aversion, and emotional discomfort to sounds most often made by humans, such as the sounds of eating, says Rebecca Mikkelsen, a psychologist at Vitale Psykologsenter, KK previously.
The sounds that cause discomfort are called trigger sounds, and are usually quiet sounds like eating, yawning, and breathing or repetitive sounds, like clicking a ballpoint pen.
The most common reactions are anger or withdrawal.
The anger experienced by a person with misophonia can be so intense that they may feel they are losing their self-control. Psychologist Mikkelsen said that the real loss of self-control is when a person behaves in an unusual way.
– I worked on it a lot
The sound of ice scraping into freezer bins. Typing on keyboards or mobile phones. Pens that click. Paper that clumps. People drink coffee while talking on the phone. The sound of shopping carts, screaming children, and merchandise being checked in the store.
Sounds are all around us, and for someone who is sensitive to sound, it can be difficult to get out of the house. Not the least of which is to be social. Having a delicious meal with your loved ones can be a nightmare.
There are many people who get Sif’s murderous looks at the dinner table, and she says it was her mom and dad in particular who “put her through” the times when she got really angry.
– But this is something I’ve worked on a lot, says Saif, who today deals with raising voices in a completely different way.
– On a good day, I can take it much longer than before. But it’s a little complicated—if I’m sick, tired, or stressed, I’m more aware of sounds.
Lie in a darkened room with a stethoscope on
The reed’s relationship with the voice is more complex than that of “only” misophonia.
For the past 15 years she has had tinnitus, and in October 2021 she was diagnosed with crystal disease.
Then the voice-related symptoms got worse. She was diagnosed with both misophonia and hyperacusis—a subtype of decreased sound tolerance that causes one to feel sounds are louder than they are.
Any sound can put her out of the game completely. Saif, who used to work full time as a kindergarten teacher and train four or five times a week, now lies in a darkened room with hearing protection.
— that it was terrible is to put it mildly. At worst, it was so bad it hurt to hear myself breathe.
– If someone drops a knife on the floor, you go straight into the fetal position. All sounds hurt physically, and this made the misophonia worse.
Since December 2021, Siv has been assisting at HØR in Ullevål.
The hissing hearing aid acts as a barrier against other sounds. The headphone blocks out exciting sounds.
In addition, she was given a number of exercises that she was going to use.
With chilling action, Siv is getting better and better.
It was the exposure exercises she received from audiologists and audiologists that proved particularly effective: she simply had to expose herself to the sounds she hated.
Siv has been helped create a sort of hierarchy of the different sounds she raises: Which sounds are the worst? Which one should you practice on first?
– I’ve watched YouTube videos of people eating – first without sound. Then I turned up the volume over time. I even filmed my dad when he’s eating an apple, so I can watch and practice putting up with it, she says and laughs a little.
– You did great!
Saif went to coffee shops only to work enduring the sounds of knives hitting plates and people eating. I went to the theater with earplugs. A lot was about practicing letting go of control. After all, we can never completely protect ourselves from sounds.
– One of the first times I went to the store without a headset, I was so tired I had to lie on the couch afterwards. But it worked!
Opening up with those around her was at least as important and letting them know how sensitive her voice is.
– so they know that “I’m not mad at you but for the sound”. Now I’m more open about it, says Saif.
But she says doing everyday things still takes a lot of work and energy. Just getting up is basically an exposure cure for Siv. If she’s at the grocery store, she might suddenly be hit with the sound of someone picking up an ice chest from the freezer.
– It’s the worst sound, and then I almost fell to the ground. So I still use hearing protection and a headphone when necessary, says Siv, who is now on the AAP due to sound sensitivities.
– I’m not angry anymore
There is still a lot of work to be done, says Saif.
– I hear incredibly well – for example, I can hear everything that happens on the bus. On the bus, I get impaired with both hyperacusis and misophonia, she says.
Someone talking on the phone. Someone who chews gum. of mobile phone keys. Saif hears everything, and riding the bus can make her stressful.
In the summer, she can’t keep the window open for more than fifteen minutes, because she gets tired of all the sounds outside – whether it’s the chirping of birds or the sound of an ambulance.
—but this is more about hyperacusis than misophonia, Seif points out.
That was not the case Enjoy To eat meals with others.
– But the way I am, I don’t get angry anymore. I’d rather say it, because I know why. But it has always been there, and likely always will be. But now I can go to the store, watch a movie with the sound on – and I know how to train for it.
Willing to help others with sensitivity of voice
And that Siv has come such a long way in the past year, it’s pretty clear: Just before summer, she stood in a ring with 20 people and earned a diploma for her training as a mental coach. The next goal is to become a neuro trainer.
– At the first gathering last fall, I cried at the door because I had to greet and speak with 20 people. So it was a very big moment when I passed. I’ve gone from lying with mom and dad with hearing protection because it hurts to hear myself breathe, to now being able to talk to you on the phone. It’s really so crazy!
Siv is still unable to function, but her dream for the future is to be able to help others with the sensitivity of sound.
– I’m also a PT graduate. So I want to work on seeing the whole person – to be able to help others in this way. But now I just have to get healthy enough to do it!
Do you have any advice for others with misophonia who would like to practice their vocal tolerance better?
– Don’t protect yourself too much. But take one thing at a time. And it takes time – you have to be patient, accept yourself and not be angry with yourself. And be open with others about it. There is help to be had!
Why do some people get misophonia?
Researchers have not found a clear answer as to why some people develop misophonia, but research is constantly advancing.
In May this year, an online conference entitled “Misophonia careWhere researchers and speakers presented what is known so far about misophonia.
– Research into misophonia has increased dramatically in the past five years, Jennifer Jo Pruitt, director of the International Misophonia Research Network, wrote in an article on Psychology Today.
She summarized some of what was discussed at the conference:
Is misophonia hereditary? Is it related to other disorders?
Until recently, there was only one study on misophonia — or “chewing rage” as it’s referred to — and genetics, in which a genetic marker was associated with misophonia.
The genetic marker associated with this trait is only one piece of the puzzle and does not mean that non-genetic factors also play a role. Additionally, you should keep in mind that “chewing-related anger” is not a complete description of misophonia, Pruett writes.
In addition, a relationship has been observed with misophonia and other conditions, such as tinnitus, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
How common is misophonia?
– I’ve heard many people refer to misophonia as a rare condition. However, this turns out to be highly unlikely—a rare disorder in the United States is defined as a disorder that affects fewer than 200,000 people, Pruett wrote.
In the United States, estimates of misophonia cases have been higher than one would think—up to 20 percent. If true, this would indicate that 1 in 5 people in the United States has misophonia.
Researchers at the conference presented estimates that up to 18 percent of the general population suffers from symptoms of misophonia.
We await further studies, but so far it appears that while misophonia may be unknown, it is not rare, Pruett writes.
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