'Trigger sounds' and misophonia: When hearing controls your feeling
Many people have negative thoughts and reactions when they hear specific sounds, some of which can generate anxiety, pain or even rage. These feelings are uncontrollable, even though sometimes the person is aware that the sound is not disturbing to someone else. These sounds are called “trigger sounds,” and the condition is called “misophonia,” meaning literally “the hatred of sound.”
Some of the most common trigger sounds are chewing, crunching, sniffing, sipping, breathing, clicks from texting, pen clicking, plastic or metal utensils, and people’s loud or soft voices.
People with misophonia are considered over-sensitive to certain sounds, and can’t control their sensitivity. Symptoms accompanying this condition are both physical and emotional. On the physical level, we find tension, accelerated heart rate and stomach ache, among others, while emotionally, anxiety and rage are the most common.
Misophonia is not rare, but it’s usually underrated and not taken seriously. If someone tells their family or friends about the trigger sounds, and how annoying they are, it is very probable that they take it lightly.
Some sounds can be annoying to everyone, but for someone with misophonia, they are unable to ignore it or get over it.
People with misophonia usually suffer. The easiest way to reduce their pain is to avoid causing the trigger sounds.
A misophonic person might think that a trigger sound exists at a place they’re visiting, so they choose not to leave their house. This method will lead, in the long term, to an isolation and a disruption in their daily life.
Moreover, some people will choose to create the sounds themselves, as a way to cope with the trigger sound by reducing its impact on them. This method is called “mimicry.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is a treatment of choice for misophonia. Its purpose is to alter negative thoughts and emotions generated by the trigger sounds and help the person to cope with the situation.