MISOPHONIA – The hatred of sound

Did you know anything about the phobia of sounds? There are a handful of people in this world who experience torturous waves of agony when they come across certain specific types of sounds. To top it all, a name has been given to it. Yes, it’s a disorder, a disorder that finally defines the hell I go through every single day. It’s called Misophonia and I suffer from it. A spelling I am still trying to get used to. Sometimes, I’d call it miphosomia or siphomania. I had also spelt it as sophomonia which means to have an unrealistic belief in one’s own intelligence. Since there’s no way I could define myself to be a sophomaniac, I would rather term Sheldon from the big bang theory to be one.

Getting back to the word that has taken me by storm, there are levels to define the severity of the sufferer’s condition from level 1 to level 10. I am a level 7 according to the MAS-1 Scale known as the Misophonia Activation Scale.

Some of my close friends tease me by making annoying chewing sounds from their mouths. It does annoy me but all I do is cover my ears which is the only way I can stop myself from hurting them… physically hurting them. It’s the sound that comes out when you eat with your mouth open. That simply pisses me off and I get agitated, angry, jittery and crazy hell-like painful bouts of ‘Don’t Angry Me!’ moments where I could possibly turn in Akshay Kumar from Rowdy Rathore. I can’t possibly reveal who eats that way but let’s just say I have found ear plugs to be my generous saviour.

So I just have to tell a person to stop eating that way or I keep staring at them, wondering how a person could eat like they’ve been possessed by an angry glutton monster or I put on my ear plugs and listen to loud music. My last resort is to get up and walk away as fast as I can. This is only so that I can calm my nerves and stop my heart from beating so rapidly. That’s called the fight or flight response, another one of the coping mechanisms a misophonic uses.

The next sound I get irritated of is snoring. If the man I marry is a snorer, there is likely to be a hulk moment during the night with a mysterious murder by morning. Especially that particular cooker-whistle noise that comes out from the mouth because the nose is blocked. My only saviour would be a heavy pillow to block out those nerve-pulling agonizing subtle tortures. I’d rather have my neck lay twisted under that heavy pillow, so I don’t need to hear that kind of snore. There were times I have gone through the whole night listening to Rihanna’s ‘shine bright like a diamond’ or Enrique’s ‘Bailando’ just to get that snoring effect out of my head! I like Rihanna’s and Enrique’s songs but to listen to them the entire night, I don’t think any fan has ever done.

The next sound I get terribly annoyed with and visually too, is the biting of fingers, not nails but fingers. It’s the way they bite it and the visual appearance of it is indescribable, plus no one would understand what I’m talking about here. Am I weird? Maybe but that’s what makes a genius! Sophomania? No, not me. At times like these, my hands become my blinders. I can’t stop a person from biting their fingers all the time. I’m sure their dead skin annoys them just as much as them biting their fingers annoy me. The least I can do is cover my ears from the squeaky sounds and block my view from their finger-between-teeth situation because even the sight of it annoys me.

Another pricking pain in my ears is the sound of slurping a hot drink from a cup. Why can people just not wait till the temperature of their hot beverage cools down a notch? Is it that important to make others know that you are drinking? Some do it because they love hot beverages instead of having them luke warm but for the love of candies, could you not bring it down to a decibel which doesn’t make me want to jump out through a shut glass window? My option here is to dab my index fingers very hard against my ears and even though I can’t do that for long, I still do it until the slurping monster finishes their hot fun-filled drink. People can really be insensitive at times.

As far as I can never forget, these are the four most annoying things I get annoyed with to the extent of getting up and walking away with dragon’s fire shooting out from my nose and ears.

I’m putting up a list of triggers. Before that, I am going to enlist the rest of my triggers. Although they are self-explanatory, writing about them makes me want to scratch my face like an angry two year old. So, I have basically given a one-line comment on each to let you know of my frustration.

This is a rare disorder because it doesn’t happen in many people. Also, to be diagnosed with this disorder, you have to be experiencing symptoms that range from extreme anger to helpless crying after encountering the following triggers which I have enlisted below. If they trigger you enough to go all witchy on the people around, you’re probably misophonic. So there! Your life just got more complicated.

Here are the other triggers that annoy me, inclusive of some of them that I have just mentioned above. I hope my enemies aren’t reading this.

v  the ‘ahh’ sound after drinking – shoot me if I ever have to hear this sound again

v  chewing – People need to stop eating! Now why is that such an unreasonable demand?

v  chewing gum – Why were chewing gums invented?

v  kissing sounds – if only people had mute buttons on them, life would be paradise

v  slurping – Stop it!

v  Swallowing – A big no no to the sound of swallowing, I mean why does that have a sound?

v  Finger biting (biting off dead skin) – By far the worst sight ever for me. Even fungus-filled cheese looks better than this

v  talking with food in mouth – this is just bad manners and utter laziness

v  Tooth sucking – when something is stuck between your teeth, floss in a sound proof room please!!!

v  Lip smacking, wet mouth sounds – how am I still alive?!

v  Snoring – I’ve been told that I snore too but that’s different. The problem is you!

v  Soft talking – some of them whisper loudly, what’s the deal with that?

So here goes the rest of the list I found from a site called www.misophonia.com , which you can skip if you’re not much of a reader.

Sounds that come from the mouth and while eating

·         burping

·        crunching hard food or ice

·         gulping

·         nail biting

·        silverware scraping teeth or a plate

·         Sipping

·         licking

·        smacking

·         spitting

·         sucking ice

·         tooth brushing

·         flossing

·         grinding teeth

·         throat clearing

·         jaw clicking

·         popping chewing gum

 

Environmental – I love nature but certain sounds are just not my cup of greens

·         Clicking from textile, keyboard / mouse, TV remote, pen clicking, writing sounds, papers rustling, ripping, ticking clocks and cell phone ringtone

·         Dishes clattering, fork scraping teeth, silverware hitting plates or other silverware and rattling change in pockets

·         Water bottle squeezing and bouncing balls

·         Plastic bags crinkling/rustling, plastic bags opening or being rubbed and crinkling food packages.

·         Sitting idling for long periods of time, beep when car is locked, car doors slamming and turn signal clicking.

·         Lawnmowers, leaf blower, refrigerator, air conditioning and chain saws.

 

Body Movement related

  • foot shuffling (dry feet on floor/carpet) or tapping, finger snapping, foot dragging, heels, flip flops, knuckle/joint cracking, eye blinking
  • nail biting
  • nail clipping

 

Breathing sounds

·         Grunting

·         Groaning

·        Screaming

·         Loud or soft breathing

·         Sniffling

·         Snorting

·        Sneezing

·         Loud talking

·         Raspy voices

·        Congested breathing

·         Hiccups

·         Yawning

·         Nose whistling

·        Wheezing

·        Humming

·         Muffled talking

·         Nasally voices

·        Overused words such as um or ah

·         Sibilance sounds (S,P,T,CH,K,B sounds)

·         Singing

·         Gravelly voices

·         Bad singing – who wouldn’t this annoy?!!

·        Whistling

 

Impact sounds 

·         Other people’s voices muffled bass music or TV through walls, doors/windows being slammed and basketball thumps.

·         dogs barking, bird sounds, crickets, frogs, dogs or cat s licking, drinking, slurping, eating, whining, dogs scratching themselves and trying to bite their fleas and claws tapping.

·         Baby crying, babbling, adults using baby talk and kids yelling.

·         Loud TV or radio.

 

Visual (sound related)

  • Eating, chewing gum.

 

Visual (not necessarily sound related)

  • Fidgeting, hair twirling, movements out of the corner of eyes, repetitive foot or body movements, jaw chewing/movement.

 

Phew, that’s a long list. I’ve googled a few treatments for misophonia and found some that should be given a try but only after consulting a Psychologist:

·         Cognitive behavioural therapy

·         Neurofeedback

·         Tinnitus Retaining Therapy

·         Psycho-Therapeutic Hypnotherapy

Other effective temporary treatments are sound machines and ear plugs. Ear plugs are what I use. However, do visit a Psychologist before you plan to go by my word of treatments mentioned above. I don’t want you turning around to say it’s my fault for giving you the wrong information, you know, just in case something backfires like you don’t turn out to be misophonic but got treated for it.

Would I get treated for this disorder? Probably yes. When? I don’t know. Why not now? Because I procrastinate. So, I’m basically stuck and will never be cured. End of story.