Whether it’s the sound of someone chewing or a car alarm, they can range from mildly discomforting to downright annoying.
For others, it is downright aggravating. In some cases, noises illicit an intensely instinctive response - which can be true for sounds in general. This sensation is known as misophonia or hyperacusis.
There are ways to treat this condition. All you need to do is pinpoint the sound that gives you this reaction and address the hypersensitivity. The cause and treatment will be different based on what triggers you.
Have you ever needed to leave a room or even snapped at someone because they were chewing loudly? Have you ever experienced anxiety because you heard someone typing on a computer keyboard? Do certain noises cause so much distraction that it stops you from getting anything done?
If that’s the case, you may suffer from misophonia. It’s a condition where certain noises cause a distinct and severely negative emotional response. Misophonia is unique for each person. Different noises can be triggering. Sometimes this response includes rapid heart rate, sweating, and trembling.
A person suffering from hyperacusis will experience physical pain rather than emotional pain. The condition of this pain will be different for everyone, whether it be moderate irritation to completely debilitating.
Hyperacusis is typically provoked by:
Hyperacusis can also show up as severe pressure or an episode of tinnitus that causes pain.
The Difference Between Misophonia and Hyperacusis
Misophonia is a psychological condition. It can be related to trauma connected to a specific noise or the symptom caused by an underlying mental illness. Feelings of apprehension, panic, or frustration during a misophonia incident can lead to physical symptoms, but it’s mainly a psychological condition.
Physical trauma, like a strike to the head or exposure to ear-splitting noise, can result in hyperacusis. Any ear damage can cause symptoms of hyperacusis. It’s uncertain what specific part of the body causes hyperacusis, but it might be an auditory nerve disorder. Essentially, there are obvious physical symptoms and a possible physical cause.
The duration of each episode is also different. Symptoms of misophonia usually don’t last for more than one to two hours. On the other hand, hyperacusis can last for days, weeks, or months after exposure to loud noise.
Misophonia causes a full-body response - in most instances, a triggering noise can lead to a panic attack. Hyperacusis rarely appears in any significant way beyond the ears. Hyperacusis can also occur in one ear instead of both.
These two conditions also receive different methods of treatment.
Hyperacusis can be taken care of by using a hearing aid or sound therapy that can help refocus a person’s attention on white noise instead of the triggering noise.
Misophonia can be taken care of through counseling or therapy. A trained therapist can help you discover why certain sounds lead to a severe emotional response. Cognitive behavioral therapy combined with sound therapy may be helpful.
If you experience hyperacusis, tinnitus, or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing aid providers.