Did you ever need to calm yourself down after hearing the sound of someone chewing their food, heavily breathing, or smacking their gum?
If this sounds familiar, you may suffer from misophonia - an aversion or hatred of particular sounds. Most people start to notice this phenomenon around the age of 12. A person with this disorder isn’t simply frustrated when another person makes noise with their mouth or makes repetitive sounds with an object, like clicking a retractable pen.
Anyone who experiences misophonia tends to have a physiological or emotional response when hearing these “triggering” sounds. The reaction does not merely depend on the actual sounds themselves, but also on that person’s past experiences when exposed to that sound along with the context in which the noise is produced. The emotional response could be linked to the specific person or source of the sound.
Research on the Annoying Sounds
A study on 42 test subjects, who have misophonia, was conducted by the Dutch. During the study, five participants were chosen at random to test their hearing. There were four who demonstrated normal sensitivity to the pure tone threshold, and one participant had conductive hearing loss. Out of all the participants, none of them reacted to the trigger sound when it was self-produced, but there was a reaction when the sound was produced by others.
Sounds that had the strongest reactions:
Twelve percent of the test subjects also experienced a visual trigger that was linked to these sounds. The responses were ranked between irritation (the most common) to annoyance and revulsion. The general coping mechanism was to leave the environment or avoid social interactions altogether.
A study from the U.K. analyzed 20 adults who reported experiencing misophonia and 22 who did not have it. Researchers asked them to rate the levels of sounds based on how unpleasant they were. These include their normal trigger sounds, neutral sounds (rain), and the universally unpleasant sound of screaming babies.
Those with misophonia classified the trigger sounds as highly disturbing (the other test subjects did not). These noises also drew out reactions, which included rapid heart rate and perspiration among those who had misophonia. Each group displayed similar reactions to the neutral and universally disturbing noises.
If you are experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for your listening needs.