Misophonia: Symptoms and ways to overcome it

Have you ever felt uncomfortable because of normal noises and sounds appearing in life? For example, the sound of typing on the keyboard, the sound of chewing on the tip, the sound of footsteps, etc. If you have ever had that feeling, you may be one of the people who are suffering from noise phobia.

Noise phobia
Phonophobia is an over-sensitivity to everyday sounds.

What is Misophonia?

Noise phobia, also known as sound aversion or noise allergy, English name is Misophonia. This is one of the common fears that is affecting about 20% of the total population worldwide.

This condition causes the human brain to fall into a state of overload. It is this disorder that causes many people to have extremely negative and strong reactions to external sounds and noises, even though they are just normal sounds such as breathing, footsteps, etc. chewing sound.

In fact, sometimes we also feel uncomfortable with familiar sounds every day, it makes it difficult for our minds to focus and causes a lot of trouble for daily life. However, for people with noise phobia, the discomfort and anger manifest at an intense level, which can even cause them to perform outrageous behaviors such as smashing, shouting, cursing by , excited.

Manifestations of the fear of noise

According to research, noise phobia is more common in women. At the same time, symptoms will also begin at an early stage, between the ages of 9 and 13. This syndrome will often appear suddenly, unexpectedly and not related to strong events occurring in daily life.

Depending on the severity of each person, the symptoms of noise phobia will also be different. For people with only mild fear, when faced with noise, they will feel uncomfortable, worry excessively and tend to avoid and hide from the object making the sound that makes them uncomfortable. .

Noise phobia

Patients will feel uncomfortable, irritable, angry when hearing haunting sounds.

For more severe cases, there will be some symptoms such as:

  • Angry
  • Fear, restlessness, insecurity
  • Suffering, Excitement
  • Panic
  • Emotional stress
  • It feels like ants crawling on the skin
  • Having a grudge against objects or people who make offensive sounds.
  • Want to kill or destroy the source of the noise
  • Self-harm, suicide.

These symptoms make it very difficult for each person’s daily life. Of course, you can’t completely avoid all the sounds around, can’t stay away from friends and family. In the worst cases, you will gradually lose control and take negative actions. It could be to panic, cry, run away or even attack the person making the sound or noise.

Causes of fear of noise

Specialists are currently not able to pinpoint the exact cause of noise phobia, but they can confirm that the condition is completely unrelated to hearing problems. Accordingly, some theories suggest that this is a fear that comes from both psychological and physical.

Experts also added that this syndrome is related to the sounds affecting the brain, it activates the body’s unconditioned reflexes. Specifically, some causes may be related to noise phobia such as:

1. Brain activity

In the results of the studies, Misophonia syndrome is related to the dysfunction of 3 brain regions. That is:

  • The limbic system: This is where the main responsibility for the regulation and control of human emotions.
  • Autonomic Nervous System: Helps control most unconscious human activities, such as breathing, digestion, heart rate, pupils, etc.
  • Auditory cortex: Plays the role of hearing and interpreting sounds.

When the sound is emitted, the three brain regions mentioned above will combine and stimulate the brain to give a “fight or flight” response. It causes people with noise phobia to form negative emotions, become annoyed, anxious, resentful, and have a desire to stay away from the current situation.

After conducting brain scans of these cases, the scientists also noticed a difference in the sound response between normal people and people with Misophonia.

2. Classical conditioning

Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov was the one who discovered the conditioned reflex, which is a form of cognitive learning. He did an experiment with dogs. He used to ring the bell before bringing in food and this action was often repeated many times. Dogs have also gradually assumed that when they hear the bell, they will prepare to eat and will automatically drool when they hear familiar sounds.

After a while, the dogs got used to this and even when Pavlov rang the bell but didn’t bring the food, they drooled as usual. Through this experiment, it shows that “Behavior is the result of the process of establishing conditioned reflexes”.

Through the results of this experiment, it is possible to talk about the fear of noise. If a certain sound, such as chewing or slurping, is associated with a negative event that happened in the past, especially in childhood, it is more likely to become a factor. create negative emotions, fear, anxiety every time you hear it.

3. The influence of psychological syndromes

Experts say that people with psychological problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, Tourette syndrome will often be very sensitive to noise. Accordingly, doctor – professor of NYU – Lerner said, there are many cases of mentally ill people suffering from noise phobia.

Their symptoms are often similar. For example, people with anxiety disorders often feel anxious, tense, heart palpitations, and sweat a lot when faced with situations that cause fear. Likewise, when they hear unpleasant sounds, they will have similar expressions.

How to overcome the fear of noise?

As shared above, noise phobia is not a hearing problem, so doctors will find it difficult to diagnose. At the same time, acoustic allergy can also easily be confused with some other mental disorders, leading to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment.

Noise phobia

Wearing headphones is the best way to reduce discomfort from ambient sounds.

Until now, the medical community has not been able to find an effective method to completely cure noise phobia. However, there are still some ways to help limit negative emotions when faced with unpleasant sounds, helping patients feel more comfortable. As follows:

  • To limit hearing outside sounds, you can wear earplugs to avoid noise. This is one of the most effective ways to help you limit the negative effects of sound and outside noise.
  • When annoying sounds appear, distract yourself by wearing headphones and listening to your favorite tunes.
  • If you have to go to crowded, loud, noisy places, choose places with few people, don’t pay too much attention or pay attention to what is happening outside.
  • Learn to relax, relax your body, control your emotions. You can take deep breaths to regain your composure whenever you feel uncomfortable about outside sounds.
  • Please share and explain to people around you about your stress, anxiety, discomfort when they make that sound.
  • If you feel out of control of your emotions and behavior, it’s best to temporarily stay away from the place that is making the annoying sound.

If you find that your fear is too great and cannot be overcome well or it affects too much to your life and daily activities, you should seek advice from specialized centers and hospitals. , supported by doctors, therapists. There are also many specialized facilities that specialize in improving and overcoming acoustic phobia.

Patients will be conducted sound therapy with specialized sound equipment and combined with psychological counseling techniques to help patients reduce their fears. The process of disease control needs to be persistent for a long time, although it cannot be cured completely, it will partly control the patient’s discomfort with noise and limit the impact on daily life. their day.

The information in the above article has helped readers understand more about the fear of sounds. Although there is currently no radical treatment, but if the above remedies are well applied, patients can still control their fears and limit the impact on daily life. .

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