Misophonia

Misophonia is the annoyance or strong dislike of certain sounds. Anatomically, misophonia reflects abnormally strong reactions of the autonomic and limbic systems resulting from enhanced functional connections between the auditory, limbic and autonomic systems (which are responsible for emotional and body reactions) for specific patterns of sound. Misophonia is not a disease but rather a symptom that is typically related to the auditory system. Although the prevalence of misophonia in the general population is unknown, it is estimated at 3.2% based on comorbidity with other auditory conditions (Jastreboff & Jastreboff, 2014).

Common causes of misophonia can be noise damage, age related hearing loss, conditions of the ear, certain medications, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), sinus pressure and barometric trauma, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Some common difficulties associated with misophonia include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Hyperacusis (sensitivity to loud sounds)
  • Hearing loss
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Annoyance or irritation
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Despair and frustration
  • Problems focusing on speech
  • Concentration difficulties

Misophonia can be exacerbated by some lifestyle choices, including:

  • Chronic exposure to sound (e.g., at work, school)
  • Explosion and impulse sound (e.g., guns, fireworks)
  • Head injury
  • Ear, head, or neck problems
  • Stress associated with an activity involving sound (e.g., dental procedure, weddings, eating in new environments)
  • Caffeinated foods and beverages
  • Excessive use of salt
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Teeth grinding

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