Misophonia literally translates as hatred of sound. Despite this, people with the condition do not simply hate all sound. They are sensitive to noise. Sounds which cause a problem are usually in the background although any sound can cause issues to a person with the condition. Other people often don't pay any attention to the sound which is upsetting the individual.
Everybody with misophonia has a different set of triggers and symptoms. These are often known as a trigger set. The triggers may change over time. If a person is exposed to a sound in their trigger set they show an immediate negative emotional response. This could range from annoyance through rage and panic. Anxiety and fear may also occur. The person can become angry, agitated or defensive. They may actively trying to distance themselves from the sound.
To understand what it is like to have this disorder many people think about how they react when they hear fingernails scratch down a blackboard. Some people say it makes their skin crawl and other people shout and say stop it! And for many people with misophonia their reaction may be even stronger than this. Sometimes people with the condition may actually physically fight the source of the sound.
Relationships are difficult and interpersonal stress may follow. A person with the condition may be able to pre-empt environments in which they will be exposed to the trigger sounds. This may lead them to avoid certain situations. Affected people may become reclusive and may withdraw from other people. Work life can be difficult if the person is unable to control the sound of their environment. Something as simple as a coworker eating lunch could be too much for the sufferer and bring on a panic attack. School and college may be out of the question.
This article doesn't constitute medical advice. Please visit your doctor in the instance that any of these issues affect you.