Misophonia: hatred of certain irritating sounds

The list of mental disorders that can adversely affect our quality of life is growing as we learn about patients with problems that were difficult to conceive of long ago.

Misophonia or selective sensitivity to low-intensity sounds, Could be one of the new mental disorders to be added to diagnostic manuals such as the DSM.

What is misophonia?

Misophonia, which means “to hate sound”, is described as a mental disorder that occurs when low-intensity daily sounds produce too much discomfort. The sensation of someone chewing, the sound of a pen slipping on paper, or the sound made by some people wearing rubber soles when walking on a smooth surface can become torture for people with some form of pain. misophonia. auditory stimuli.

Thus, where there is misophony there is a too low tolerance threshold for certain low intensity noises, which leads them to trigger a state of stress, anger and strong discomfort in the person who suffers it, depending on the type of noise you don’t like: noise when chewing, a person’s throat clearing, etc.

The consequences of “hatred of sound”

People with misophonia are distinguished from the rest of the population in that they experience discomfort from everyday sounds that are not heard loud enough to damage the hearing system and cause pain. Many people may notice that it “makes them angry” to hear how their companion chews several times, but people with misophonia are so uncomfortable with certain types of sounds that they are able to change their habits. so as not to have to listen. Los, which often leads them to self-isolate in an area they deem safe or to use earplugs in certain settings.

In addition, since the connection between auditory stimuli and the onset of the state of discomfort is so direct, they often get in a bad mood all of a sudden, Which can lead to discussions in family or in the circle of friends.

Possible new mental disorder

The first time anyone used the term “misophonia” was in 2000, when neuroscientists Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff described a psychological disorder characterized by low tolerance to specific sounds.. Due to the recent nature of this concept, the causes and the level of impact it has on the population are currently unknown. However, its cause is believed to be in the brain, where activation of neurons associated with an auditory stimulus is, in turn, associated with a stressful or irritating experience. So far, it has been shown experimentally that people with misophonia show greater electrical conductivity in their skin when exposed to sounds that they find stressful, which other individuals do not. . It is an immediate physiological reaction.

In addition, the severity of some cases of misophonia has led several researchers in recent years to defend the idea that this phenomenon should be included in diagnostic manuals for mental disorders, in order to easily identify this disorder and develop programs for it. research and treatment on a consensus basis.

So far, a tool has been developed to help identify cases of patients with misophonia, the Misophonia Activation Scale, with 11 degrees of intensity in symptoms: from no discomfort to hear a sound going through the use of violence triggered by the strong discomfort. this noise produces.

Treatment of misophonia

Like what happens with tinnitus, the treatment proposals for cases of misophonia are based on the proposal of strategies to live with this disorder, either through cognitive behavioral therapy, or by teaching specific strategies to protect oneself from sound which produces aversion without seriously impairing emotional and family life.

Until a solution is found to resolve the symptoms, the intervention focuses on teaching coping strategies and ensuring that family, friends and colleagues of the person with misophonia are aware of their needs and know what to do in each case.

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