Misophonia

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is a condition characterized by sound sensitivities to selective auditory stimuli. These stimuli elicit strong emotional and behavioral responses such as distress, anxiety, disgust, anger, irritability, and avoidance. Individuals with misophonia can experience significant impairment and impaired functioning when encountering triggers in daily activities.

Although proposed for inclusion in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) under the category of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, misophonia remains an understudied condition.

Triggers

Common sounds that elicit strong responses among individuals with misophonia include

  • Sounds related to the mouth and/or eating
    (e.g., swallowing, sipping, slurping, lip-smacking, loud chewing, chomping)
  • Sounds related to breathing
    (e.g., sniffing, snorting, heavy breathing, coughing, sneezing)
  • Sounds made using fingers and/or hands
    (e.g. tapping, typing, pen clicking, pencil scratching, knuckle popping)
  • Sounds related to foot movements
    (e.g., footsteps, sounds of high heels)
  • Sounds related to the environment and/or situation
    (e.g., clock ticking, crinkling paper, trickling water)

Treatment of Misophonia

There is no clear consensus on the best treatment for misophonia at this time and further research is needed.  A small number of case studies have been published that use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or exposure with response prevention (ERP) to help patients and families overcome misophonia. Recently, one large treatment study found CBT to be effective for reducing the severity of misophonia symptoms in adults (Schroder, Vulink, van Loon, & Denys, 2017).

Our Research on Misophonia

Please help us learn more about misophonia and how best to help patients and families overcome these symptoms by participating in our research.  Contact us using this contact form, call our office at (443) 287-7157, or email us at email-coach to learn more about ongoing research studies.

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