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Misophonia. Why hating the sound of eating is no joke.

Q: ” My tween daughter has a huge aversion to the sound of anyone eating, which is causing much discord in our house. Other sounds can distress her too – such as her sister brushing her hair, or the noise people make with their cutlery when they eat. Her reaction is often worse if she is stressed/tired/grumpy. She has expressed that she hates the fact that these sounds upset her and cause the conflict they do. I need recommendations and advice, what can I do to help her?”

A: ” It’s a real thing: Misophonia. Many people have to live with it. And many people have to live with us!”

” A report in the latest ‘Current Biology’ shows scans of people suffering from it show changes in the brain activity when a trigger sound was heard. People who suffer from this condition have an abnormality in their emotional control mechanism which forces their brains to go into overdrive when they hear triggers, causing their heart rate to increase as well as making them sweat.”

” I suffer from this and it’s awful. My husband sounds like a washing machine while eating, can’t deal. Some says are really bad and yes when tired it’s worse too. Not sure about therapy for it but she is not alone, it’s very real.”

” I have had it my whole life and loathe that I have it! Mouth noises of any kind make me RAGE! I have spoken to both a psychiatrist and psychologist about it, and apparently there is no real way to deal with it other than to avoid being triggered by it as much as possible.”

” Difficult to ditch this problem completely – my daughter has it, aged 20 – but I have noticed the irritation fluctuates with stress/no stress. What we did was get noise reducing earplugs for her from the company Noise Clippers. You need to visit an audiologist to get a mould taken of her ears, and they will also programme the plugs once made. You can still hear things but certain levels of noise are reduced. Brilliant as concert plugs too, to preserve ones hearing, and everyday sounds that feel too loud when under stress.”

” First heard of Misophonia from the Ear Clinic and was so relieved there’s a name for it. I generally try and remove myself from the sound or ask nicely for people to be aware. They usually think I’m bonkers but sometimes it’s unbearable and a small adjustment on their part makes a big difference.”

” It’s definitely so much better if family and friends are sensitive to the sufferer and make adjustments and allowances. Discreetly inserting earplugs before a meal definitely helps though!”

” I’m not sure you will find a solution through a therapist, but perhaps you could teach your daughter that it’s ok to wear those cheap foamy earplugs writing tests or exams at school. I remember having a tough time with kids sniffing etc. If there’s a sound she doesn’t like, just believe her. I used to remove all the batteries from clocks in the home to stop the ticking. I could hear a swatch watch in the classroom if it was relatively nearby. When you’re older, you have much more freedom to remove yourself from popcorn eaters or glare at people in theatres, or leave a shop if someone can’t pick up their feet. It’s harder for a kid to convince anybody what they feel is real.”

” No one is allowed to eat near me unless there is background noise. TV or music. It helps a little. But some days I want to kill.”

” There is a great book called ‘The Out Of Sync Child’ which can give you lots of advice and an Occupational Therapist who has experience in sensory issues, could also be of help.”

” The intensity can be increased by nutrient deficiencies – take a big dose of zinc and magnesium, everyday.”

” Misophonia.. I have it. It came on when I reached puberty. How I feel for your daughter, it’s ruined my life. Christmas I sat in the kitchen alone. Even now.. I can’t stand it. I can’t even have dinner with my family. If I hear cutlery scrape I could kill. Hearing these sounds make me aggressive. Unfortunately, I can’t offer any helpful wisdom. My family think it’s a joke and kind of sneak eat to see if I react, which has made me mistrustful. At least I can shout at my family, at work – needless to say  I can’t work with people, It also, in my case, extends to other sounds such as breathing and smell. And unfortunately it has seemed to get worse the older I get.”

” I found some suggestions for helping sufferers to live with Misophonia: While it cannot be cured, these apparently can help?Tinnitus retraining therapy. In one course of treatment known as tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), people are taught to better tolerate noise. Cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling.”

” Some practical tips: Vibes audio earplugs are available on takealot for R380 – they reduce noise volume and filter sounds but without muffling – so better audio clarity and lower volume levels. And very discreet – no one will even see she’s wearing anything.
You can also try proper ear defenders for noisy places, the Pro Fo Sho block at an unbelievable amount of sounds but the Peltor are very good. You can get active noise cancelling headphones – both shooting muffs or those made for music listening.
But an OT could give her much more in the way of dealing with it in the normal course of life.”

” It often is a side effect of another condition: Mine gets especially bad when I am going through a depression or anxiety episode. CBT helped me a lot with this – but I am not sure what is appropriate for a child. I have learnt to manage much of the anger/blind-rage that is set off when I hear certain sounds, but there are still many that set me off. I do find that listening to music with my headphones helps me a great deal.”


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