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Do You or Someone You Know Have Misophonia?

Here is information about misophonia that your doctor should know.

Courtesy of Pexels
Source: Courtesy of Pexels

Chances are that if you have misophonia there are no words to aptly describe the frustration you feel when dealing with doctors who don't know what the disorder is. If your child or a loved one has misophonia, you are likely suffering alongside that individual without the help of a doctor, a therapist, or any medical or mental health professional.

Alternatively, perhaps your doctor has "heard of it" but really doesn't know anything about misophonia. Maybe your doctor told you that you are probably crazy, or that you should try "exposure therapy", or that possibly you should just pick up some earplugs at your local pharmacy and "tough it out".

Maybe your child's pediatrician has just sent you on a "wild goose chase" involving child psychiatrists, behavior specialists and/or the pediatrician simply told you that your parenting skills lackluster.

Having been through this personally, having heard it all...I have put together a resource guide for doctors, therapists, teachers and any other interested clinicians. The link for the guide is at the end of the post. However, you can also refer your doctor to the following information.

WHAT IS MISOPHONIA? Misophonia is considered a neurologically based condition characterized by heightened autonomic nervous system arousal and negative emotional reactivity (e.g., irritation, overload, anger, anxiety) in response to specific sounds. Misophonia was termed by Jastreboff & Jastreboff (2001) as they differentiated it from hyperacusis (a disorder in which individuals feel pain in response to loud sounds or perceive sounds to be louder than they are). The Jastreboff’s noted that individuals with misophonia appeared to respond to pattern-based sounds with autonomic arousal, regardless of the decibel. That is, upon presentation of such stimuli, patients reported rising stress levels (such as elevated heartbeat, muscle tension, and sweating) along with strong negative emotions. This was different from what the Jastreboffs' had seen with regard to other forms of “decreased sound tolerance” such as tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears), hyperacusis, and phonophobia (fear of sound often secondary to hyperacusis).

What is the Research Saying?

Although research is still in its infancy, most studies demonstrate that in response to sounds (and sometimes visual stimuli) the autonomic nervous system is activated, as the Jastreboff’s proposed. These changes lead to a variety of emotional or behavioral responses. People who suffer from misophonia describe their emotions as angry, enraged, sad, over-loaded, fearful and more. A study by Dr. Sukhbinder Kumar and his team from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University (and the University College London) published a groundbreaking misophonia study, which appeared in Current Biology. The study revealed a notable difference in the connectivity in the frontal lobe between the cerebral hemispheres in people with misophonia. The difference appears to be due to higher myelination in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). The vmPFC is involved in processing and regulation of emotions like fear and decision making.

Although there is disagreement amongst researchers in terms of how misophonia should be classified, there are several points with which scientists seem to agree:

  • Misophonia is real
  • Symptoms vary from mild to severe
  • Misophonia includes auditory and neurological with behavioral, cognitive, and emotional responses
  • The underlying mechanisms of misophonia are related to atypical connections between the circuits in the brain that process sound, and those that process emotions, as well as the fight/flight response.
  • Misophonia can co-occur with mental and other health disorders. However, most researchers agree that misophonia is a stand-alone condition.

I hope this helps you to explain the basics of misophonia to your doctor. Please feel free to download a copy of and for more information about misophonia for doctors and loved ones: