Fourteen years ago, my husband and I met on a blind date and knew instantly that this was it. We were each other’s person; we’d met our forever. We were 18. We began talking about our future from the start. We just knew. One of the things we discussed at that point in our lives is the fact that we both wanted the kind of marriage where we still had butterflies decades down the road, and that meant focusing on one another and ensuring that we always valued our marriage. We were never going to be the type of couple that sat on different chairs when watching a movie or show together at night, and we were never going to be the kind of couple that goes to bed at different times.
We have managed to keep that promise all these years, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, except for the going to bed at the same time part. I think that I’d be a little bit happier if my husband let me go to bed about 10 minutes prior to him so that I could fall quickly asleep and not have to lie in bed having murderous thoughts because of this annoying, irritating, grating sound that he makes. You see, my husband breathes loudly when he sleeps. He doesn’t snore; he breathes loudly. I don’t get it; I can breathe all day long without anyone hearing me do it and that’s how I sleep. He, on the other hand, cannot help but suddenly breathe so loudly that I find myself wanting to stick my pillow over his head to shut him up (I’d never, really).
It’s called misophonia. It’s kind of new – as in it’s only been around for approximately 2 decades. Essentially, it’s selective sound sensitivity syndrome, and it is a real thing. Mine is not terrible – but it happens every single night. I’m not really in a rage about this situation most nights, but it drives me Up. The. Wall.
Misophonia is the “strong dislike or hatred” of very specific sounds. The sound that makes you want to push someone in front of a moving bus might not be the same sound that makes someone else want to run into traffic. It could be anything. It could be the sound of popcorn popping, nails on a chalkboard, or even the sound of someone’s specific voice. As a matter of fact, I believe that my 4-year-old daughter might actually suffer a touch based on her bristling response and reaction to the sound of one little girl in her VPK class and her high-pitched voice. She tells me regularly that all she wants is for this girl to stop talking because her voice makes her angry. But she likes her – and they’re friends. She just wants her friend never to speak, ever.
What is Misophonia?
We’ve really already covered what this is. But what we haven’t covered is the fact that it could be anything. It could be the sound of a yawn or it could be something as small as a noise that’s made when someone fidgets, or even the small repetitive motion that they make. Have you ever encountered someone that actually bristles when you tap your foot and almost immediately harshly and almost apologetically asks you to stop what you are doing?
How do I Know if I have Misophonia?
We all like to diagnose ourselves with the help of Google (and even infomercials) and it’s a terrible – and highly ineffective – habit. I mean, if I were to go by my own diagnosis based on the symptoms that I have, one particular infomercial on television informed me that I have testicular cancer. Since I haven’t any that particular body part, it’s not possible. Thus, a reminder as to why we should not bother self-diagnosing with the help of the internet. Just because it’s online does not make it true.
However, you might be able to recognize some of the symptoms here, and that might lead you to speak with your doctor for a diagnosis. This particular health condition is often not recognized until every other option is exhausted, and it’s not all that easy to treat. If you do suffer from Misophonia, you might notice that a particular sound makes you feel:
Like getting up and getting out of whatever situation you are in, stat
If you suffer from a more advanced phase of misophonia, you might feel more substantial hatred of a particular sound that causes you to feel:
Your skin crawl
Suicidal feelings and thoughts
The urge to either kill the person making the noise or the urge to stop whatever it is by any means
This is not to say that you will actually kill someone or commit suicide when you hear these sounds, but the thought will be there. Not everyone has such a severe reaction to this sound, either.
How this Affects Your Life
The biggest concern when you feel this way is your social life. It might impair your ability to be in certain situations. If your misophonia makes it difficult for you to listen to someone chew, for example, you might not be able to dine publicly or even in the same room as your family. It can be a very difficult situation to live with, and that’s why doctors are looking for a way to minimize the effects that his particular health condition has on those it affects.
What can be Done?
Misophonia does not affect all people. Typically, it begins to present between the ages of 9 and 13 and it’s far more common in females. There is nothing wrong with your hearing, so it’s hard to control the issue. However, doctors are always looking for new ways to help ease the stress of this condition. Typically, therapy includes learning to manage your feelings. This could include everything from sound therapy to counseling. Some medical professionals even offer their patients with extreme cases a type of device very similar to a hearing aid, only it creates a soothing sound in the ears of patients so that it distracts from the sounds that make them crazy.
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