While listening to CBC radio’s science program, Quirks and Quarks, I learned about misophonia.
Literally translated as “hatred of sounds”, the definition given on the program was “a sound processing disorder characterized by the experience of negative emotions such as anger, anxiety or even rage, in response to everyday sounds generated by other people.”
I wondered if it applies to people with sensory issues.
Although classified as a rare neurological condition, it is more common among those with a pre-existing neurological conditions, such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and I would assume Sensory Processing Disorder.
According to the Misophonia Association, some of the common trigger sounds are:
- Gum Chewing.
- Eating Sounds.
- Lip Smacking.
- Speaking Sounds (s, p, k)
- Breathing Sounds.
- Repetitive softer sounds like pen clicking, pencil tapping.
- Nasal noises, throat clearing.
- Sucking through the teeth sounds.
Interestingly, it often starts in the tween years and the trigger sounds are generated by other people. The CBC interviewer stated he couldn’t stand a noisy eater because of the association he has between that sound and how his dad ate when he was drunk. The good news is, because the brain remains malleable throughout our life, there is optimism for treatments to reduce or eliminate the problem.
The type of treatment depends on the level of intensity of mesophonia.
Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for - sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive or quiet and calm.
1. Single focus. Some treatments are based on the fact that our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. If it is focused on relaxing shoulder muscles or breathing deeply, then the trigger sound becomes a background noise and less irritating. This takes work. Ask any Buddhist Monk. Good thing we don’t need to become a monk for it to be useful.
Bonus: learning how to control our focus and to relax has a wide range of application.
2. Have a healthy lifestyle so the body can handle stress better, such as the stress of an irritating sound. Exercise, hydration, healthy eating, laughter, engaging in joy-filled activities fall under this category.
3. Earplugs/noise cancelling headphones. In one interesting account, a lady was helped by earplugsused by motorcyclists (reduces some but not all sounds). I say ‘interesting’ because the annoying sounds seem to be annoying when she was in an unpleasant emotional state. It would’ve been interesting to know if it could have been cured through learning to cope with her emotions.
4. Dealing with emotional issues. Traditional therapy or perhaps something like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). (Does anyone have any experience with EFT and sensory issues? I don’t and would love to hear if it helps. EFT keeps popping up in my life but I can’t condemn or condone it. If you are interested in trying it, and sharing the results with me, there is a Summit happening, I assume on a variety of topics, for the next several days. Love to hear your impressions).
5. Treatments that are more specifically directed at mesophonia, such as tinnitus retraining therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, occupational therapy (in this sample, desensitization), psychotherapeutic hypnotherapy, chelated magnesium supplement, and avoidance of neurotoxic chemicals. Neurofeedbackwas another alternative but, as with everything, it doesn’t always help.
6. Weighted items to encourage calm. Perhaps a new style of weighted lap pad would help you to remain calm.
We are considering retrofitting a stuffy and have 2 samples to consider.
Help us and we will reward your participation by entering you to win one of the two stuffies, or one of our lap pads we already off - your choice!
The first sample is a fun and funky dinosaur (other animals and colours are available if we go this route). The body is flat so he would lie on your lap like a pillow, with the image you see above facing upward. His belly would not be on your lap like the bear below. The “lap pad” size is about 41x30 cm / 16x12 in.
The second sample is a bear. His fur is quite soft and the shape would be natural for petting (no other animal is available at this time). The “lap pad/body” is about 31x18 cm / 12x7 in.
I would love to hear your response to them!
Do you prefer one over the other?
Would the cute dino become a distraction? Or his cute looks an attraction and encourage use?
What is your perfect size for a lap pad?
Or do you prefer a less distracting more basic style of lap pad? Or our simplified flat friends (dino pictured above)?
Both stuffies will be made into weighted lap pads and become prizes that can be won by anyone who has shared with us.
Draw on March 16th (St. Urho’s Day – always a cause for celebration!)
Enter to win by sharing with us!
I hope your life is filled with pleasant sounds this week.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
Stay tuned for something fun for St. Urho's Day,in addition to the draw of one of the two stuffies for those who give feedback.
Remember to share with us and you will be entered to win a new lap pad stuffy or one of our tried and true lap pads. Do it NOW