Are you more sensitive to sounds than the other people around you? Do you get upset by some auditory stimuli, which others seem not to notice? Like for example, chewing sounds? You’re not alone! This condition is known as misophonia, and it’s literally described as a hatred of sound.


misophonia

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People with misophonia have negative emotions, reactions and thoughts towards the daily sounds produced by the people that surround them. Common examples include chewing, swallowing, and coughing. Nearly 20 percent of the worldwide population is affected by this condition.

For people who suffer from misophonia, sitting on a table with other people, while eating, can generate irritation and stress, and sometimes even rage. That’s why you may be asked by these people to eat slowly and silently, like “chew with your mouth closed!”.

Causes Of Misophonia

At the very base of this condition is the intolerance to sounds.

Some health experts say that it’s a neurological disorder, affecting the CNS (central nervous system). And, that it’s probably caused by a problem like tinnitus (ringing in the ears due to injury), or a damage to the mPFC (medial prefrontal cortex).

Another belief is that there’s a link between OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorders) and misophonia, highlighting the negative emotions towards sounds. In reality, the repulsion may be due to a small trauma, which triggers an excessive negative response of the almond-shaped brain mass, with no control of the prefrontal lobes. Thus, the person experiences a visceral reaction, which can be very difficult to control.

Even if the person tries, and I’m saying this from experience, he/she cannot stop the sensitivity to the sounds. And, neuroscientists have discovered that the aversion to sounds is real!

In their study, they have determined that when exposed to triggering sounds like chewing, people with misophonia show a higher level of physiological and psychological arousal, and sweat more. But, when they hear relaxing sounds, such as rain, they don’t show this kind of reaction.

Treatment

There are several ways to treat misophonia. Don’t allow the anger to overwhelm you, and to reach a point of no return. You can always try to reduce the triggering noise! Don’t you find the hum of a small fan relaxing? Or the hair dryer sound? What about relaxing music, or a white noise device? Pick your favorite solution to satisfy everyone!

Also, it’ll be convenient if you explain to others which sounds bother you the most. This way, the next time you’re on the dining table, they’ll be more careful how they eat, or how they chew a gum. Explain to them that this is a real problem for you that stresses you out!

The Genius Link

Also, there’s a good side to this situation. Namely, recent research has shown that a person who is sensitive to sounds is more likely to be a creative genius! There’s an interesting fact, right?

Namely, a higher level of attention is linked to creativity. We all have sensory receptors, with a neurological base. This allows us not to perceive the irrelevant stimuli, so that we don’t overload our brain. However, psychologists have found that those who could not rule out unnecessary stimuli, like low-intensity environmental sounds, are more creative.

This research shows us that when a person has sensory receptors that don’t filter properly, it allows him/her to integrate concepts and ideas that usually escape attention. And, this can further lead to more creative and innovative solutions.

Bottom line, yes, we know that misophonia can cause you nervousness and headaches. But, it also puts you at an advantage! You just need to learn to control it!

Reference:
Extra Annoyed By Chewing Sounds? You May Be A Creative Genius
Why being unable to stand noisy eaters might make you a genius
Sshh! There’s a genius at work: Being overly sensitive to sound could be the key to intellectuals’ creativity