I’ve written about Misophonia before and in my upcoming book, Empowering the Sensitive male Soul, and I am always keen to see what writers say about it because they are often a little off. Here, the author describes Misophonia as a “condition” but we cannot fairly describe it as such simply because it does not exist as a recognized condition. We can fairly describe it as a phenomenon that about 15% of the total population experiences.
We can also say that Misophonia can be anything from a mild to severe issue for those who experience it and that there are good treatment strategies available to help retrain our brains and our behaviors when we encounter trigger sounds. By the way, I am a moderate category Misophonic so this is of great importance to me and I know to others, especially those who are in the severe category.
The best treatment strategy seems to revolve around a combination of three key aspects:
1) Cognitive behavioral therapy to reframe how we think about the producers of trigger sounds (that they are not intending to create these trigger sounds).
2) Progressive muscle relaxation to instantly react to a trigger sound by intentionally relaxing the muscles in our bodies that tend to clench up when we hear trigger sounds, combined with removing from the space if necessary and self-soothing strategies (breathing deeply or otherwise calming the body).
3) Gradual exposure therapy to lessen our sensitivity to trigger sounds, specifically, those that apply to us individually. There is a trigger tamer app that can be used to gradually expose us to our particular trigger sounds. Note that it is crucial that you do not expose yourself to full volume trigger sounds! For obvious reasons, start out at a lower volume and increase over time.
HSPs, if you can imagine, are not only already highly sensitive to stimuli that others miss, but a likely similar 15% of us also must contend with Misophonia! Our sensitivity to subtleties, one of the four core aspects of sensory processing sensitivity, combined with our tendency for overstimulation, can require a real addressing of Misophonia if we are to function well in the world.
It is important, if you decide to seek help with Misophonia, to locate a specialist because it really does take great expertise and long experience to help a Misophonic. I suggest browsing the Misophonia Institute’s website for much more information and for help with locating skilled professionals.
The good news is Misophonia can be mitigated to a large extent but it does take work and long-term effort. I have experience as a moderate category Misophonic and my spouse is a severe category Misophonic. We have developed our own strategies that work for us with regard to how we will react if one of us hears a trigger sound unexpectedly and they are always unexpected! Much like learning to allow high sensitivity to be one aspect of our lives, we also allow for the presence of Misophonia. The more you know and the more self-aware you are, the better you may more effectively live your life without feeling too limited by Misophonia.