Why do some people walk loudly

Misophony and sensitivity to noise

This can be explained particularly well if you look at the meaning of the word: Miso means hate and phono tone, i.e. hatred of a certain tone. People can hardly stand certain noises. Many people are familiar with a similar phenomenon when a chalk squeaks on the blackboard or when handling styrofoam. Noises which, due to their intensity, can literally lead to pain, goose bumps and contracted neck muscles. In the case of misophonia, the noises that are perceived as unpleasant can also be very quiet. The noise sensitivity only relates to certain noises and sounds.

Typical examples are:

  • Smacking
  • Chew
  • Friction noises (e.g. on fabric, wood or glass)
  • Swallowing noises
  • Repeated clicks

Misophonia is not to be confused with hyperacusis, a general sensitivity to noise that is not particularly loud. However, this is not about specific noises, but about the noise level. People with hyperacusis react with great sensitivity to noises at levels that other people perceive as completely normal. If noises become a torture at normal volume, you should always consult your ear, nose and throat specialist first.

Those who suffer from misophonia can often find it difficult to make this understandable to their fellow human beings. Smacking or puffing up your nose are simply dismissed as annoying noises and forgotten by others. Anyone who suffers from misophonia has to explain to others that certain everyday noises involuntarily bother them. The range of feelings goes from simple displeasure to strongly aggressive reactions.

If you are a misophonist, explain to those around you:

  • What is misophony?
  • What are the noises for me?
  • What feelings does that trigger in me?

Talking about it openly is important. Because in the worst case a misophonia can develop into a real phonophobia. This downright fear of noises can lead to the avoidance of all situations that could operate these psychological triggers. A strong sensitivity to noises such as B. Eating noises would then lead to the phonophobic no longer wanting to eat in company. In order for the misophonia not to develop from a harmless disorder into a problem, it is better to communicate than ignore it. It often helps that the rejection of noises has a name. Many misophonics are reassured just by knowing that they are not alone with the problem. The relatives and friends are then more willing to tolerate the “oversensitivity”.

Misophony and eating noises

The reluctance to make any noise while eating is particularly common. A simple rejection of smacking noises would not always be referred to as a misophony. Our cultural imprint and upbringing according to European table manners make us intolerant of smacking. Nobody in China would mind. In Europe, on the other hand, there is widespread aversion to smacking. Many people also say that very loud chewing noises alone annoy them. A real misophony with eating noises goes on: The misophonic can no longer distance himself from the anger over the chewing noises or other eating noises. The anger and disgust at the hated noises take his whole person. Even if misophonia has an almost pathological effect on some people, it is only a treatable disorder.

Misophonia causes and symptoms

In some cases, the cause of misophonia can be an experience that the person made in childhood or an extreme situation (trauma) that he experienced. Then the cause of the connection in the brain is found between the noise and a bad feeling in the experience. Various complex synaptic connections lead to the coupling of sensory perceptions with feelings. Smells and positive or negative emotions are a similar well-known example. In the case of post-traumatic disorders, however, noises are more likely to trigger fear and tend towards phonophobia (see above). Symptoms of misophonia tend to be more of disgust, anger, and aggression. One then assumes a “simple” miscommunication without trauma, which combines noise and emotional reaction. In order to find help with misophonia, control over one's own emotions and the opportunity to actively relax are valuable.

Therapy: How can I treat misophonia?

ENT doctors, hearing care professionals, psychologists and psychiatrists are still researching the phenomenon and a suitable misophonia therapy. What is certain is that the aversion to the noise does not have to be based on a memorable, possibly traumatic experience. It is also interesting that a misophonist who, for example, can hardly stand the clicking of heels on asphalt, is not bothered by noises that are typically assessed as exhausting: e. B. Baby screams or constant engine noise. In fact, when a certain, hated noise is made in the brain of the person concerned, a link is made to a brain area, the anterior insular cortex (AIC), which is responsible for emotional reactions. A shortcut that is too much, so to speak, in the event of a smack or click. So maybe some kind of wrong switching is the reason for the defensive feelings. This begs the question: what can be done about misophonia? The connection in the brain cannot be "rebuilt" in a short time. Treatment of misophonia can therefore only aim at learning to control the feelings that flare up. Various relaxation techniques such as:

  • yoga
  • Autogenic training
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Thai chi

It would clearly not be appropriate to use medication for misophonia. Headphones help to isolate yourself from the noises of other people in certain everyday situations. Hypnosis for misophonia is also offered. How good the successes are has not been scientifically recorded. If the misophonia leads to serious impairments in everyday life, a doctor can be called in. If a doctor confirms the suspicion of misophonia, he has previously ruled out other causes. He may recommend therapy with a behavior therapist. In therapy, ways are sought and practiced from learned patterns. It is worth taking a closer look with children. As a rule, aggressive rejection of sounds is observed only after puberty. Misophony quickly leads to social conflicts in adolescence. The uncertainty caused by the misophonia can be cured if the child understands its wrong switching in the brain. Then it can better separate the emotion from the trigger (cause of the noise) and calm down more easily. A noiser, such as that used in tinnitus therapy, may also be helpful. You'll find more about it here.