Misophonia, also referred to as ‘selective sound sensitivity syndrome’, is a strong dislike or hatred of specific sounds. These sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that others may perceive as unreasonable, ranging from mild annoyance or disgust, to panic or full-blown rage. Examples are everyday sounds: the sound of someone chewing, using a metal fork or spoon on a metal bowl or pot, the sound of windscreen wipers, a squeaky shopping trolley wheel or someone tapping their foot while listening to music. People with misophonia can also react adversely to the visual stimuli accompanying a sound, such as someone fidgeting.
One of the features of ‘misophonic sounds’ may be repetitive noise. That repetition then exacerbates other auditory processing problems. People with mild misophonia may avoid busy restaurants or establishments that produce certain sounds, such as modern pop music playlists or plates being bashed about. Those with severe misophonia can become somewhat aggressive or even violent, physically or verbally attacking the person or thing making the sound. Some may cry or run away from the situation.
People with misophonia may have issues with how their brains filter sounds – part mental, part physical – and most likely relates to how sound triggers automatic responses in your body.
Misophonia is lifelong condition. It is more commonly found in girls.