I can’t stand to hear some sounds. Am I crazy? Am I just oversensitive and need to suck it up? Or do I have misophonia?

Q: I can’t stand to hear some sounds. Am I crazy? Am I just oversensitive and need to suck it up? Or do I have misophonia?

A: Most people can become aggravated at certain sounds, depending on the level. Eating dinner with a family does not usually provoke anger and disgust. However, if someone at that table is eating with their mouth wide open, slurping drinks, chomping food, and generally being disgusting, most of us are irritated. This is the reaction that a person with misophonia has to normal eating sounds.

A 2014 study of college freshman revealed that about 20% of them were sensitive to eating sounds. A smaller percentage would most likely be classified as having misophonia. Misophonia is not made up, the reactions are not volitional, and they happen before the person has time to think about the sounds. Parts of the brain that react quickly to sounds and other stimuli to keep us alive have identified misophonia trigger sounds as invasive and damaging. The feelings of anger, rage, and disgust occur so that the individual will do something to stop the offensive sounds.

If people with misophonia could think their way out of it, they probably would have done so already. However, their reactions are so very strong and involuntary that they are unable to successfully deal with the offenses by talking themselves out of it. Treatment for misophonia is in its beginning stages, and new Bluetooth® technology has greatly improved the effectiveness of the treatment in the past couple years. We have experienced significant high-level success, enabling our patients to interact with co-workers, family members, and friends without constant anxiety, anger, and fear.